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FAQs on Betta Diseases: Parasites of Many Kinds: Protozoans, Worms, Crustaceans. See Also: Ich/White Spot, Velvet

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,

Need to confirm diagnosis first. May take a microscope... and body smear, other sampling.

<RMF would REALLY like to have a pictorial atlas... for WWM like we have for Clownfish Diseases>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Identification of possible parasite       5/19/17
<Karan... we ask that folks send image files of a few hundred Kbytes; yours is some 17 megs... >
Hi there
I have a very poorly Betta who has been battling a number of issues for a few months. He has PopEye in one eye which has not responded to any treatment - daily water changes, Indian almond leaves, Epsom salt baths, Myxazin, meth blue baths (all treatments spaced out over a few months).
<Unilateral exophthalmia can be the "Dickens" to cure, depending on root cause, how entrenched it has become
He has lost a lot of colour and energy but still eating and I have now spotted something attached to his side which I think is a parasite but I'm not sure. Would you be able to help identify if it is a parasite and what
type it is and what treatment you would advise?
<Yes; I see what appears to be an "Anchorworm" (actually a crustacean parasite) on the "chest area"; please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/anchorwrmfaqs.htm
He is in a filtered 12L hospital tank (half filled as not swimming to bottom great - swim bladder?) temp 82 with ammonia and nitrite 0 and nitrate 40 (tap water 40 too at the moment) I use Prime to condition water.
<Please write back if your course of action is not clear here (after reading); I would carefully tweeze this adult Lernaeid off, dab the wound site w/ a proscribed topical antiseptic... and treat the system per the above reading to eliminate unattached stages. Bob Fenner>

Re: Identification of possible parasite     5/20/17
Thanks Bob. Apologies for size of pics! I attempted to remove the parasite but it didn't go well and the head is still buried.
I now have one very stressed out fish and half an anchor worm!
<Well; a bit more chance for secondary infection... but the rest will decompose in time>
I'll get some Waterlife Parazin and treat with that. Hoping that will sort the worm and improve his overall health if he survives tonight.
Thank you :)
<Steady on Karan. Cheers, BobF>

Ill Betta with potential worm       5/12/16
<.... 14 megs... we ask that folks limit to a few hundred Kbytes....>
Hello! I have a 2 year old Betta that has been ill for around two months now. I will try to condense this extensive journey as much as I can. When healthy my Betta was in a planted ten gallon with 6 pygmy cories, one Nerite snail, one blue and one yellow cherry shrimp.
<Good companions, bio-indicators>
Almost two months ago I noticed him excessively scratching against the plants, tank walls, and driftwood. He would go so far as to dig himself under the driftwood for a full body scratch. Soon he became extremely bloated and very skinny, even though he was eating fine, and one eye began to pop out and cloud. With the help of a forum I frequent, I decided to try
treating the tank with API General Cure and Epsom Salt because the scratching pointed to parasites.
<Mmm; not necessarily, no. Some aspects of water quality, environment, genetics will result in this behavior>
This proved to have no result besides killing the shrimp and one of the cories.
<Oh yes>
I was not present for the entire treatment, so I didn't see the body of the Cory, I was just unable to find him anywhere in the tank even if I removed everything and pulled out the other cories. I assume he was eaten.
About a week after the first round of General Cure I decided to give it another go, this time with the Betta in a half gallon hospital tank floating in the main tank. Again, there was no results. I should note that there was not any signs of parasites in his poop. They were perfectly clean.
At this point the symptoms looked much more like dropsy than anything. His abdomen had swelled to an enormous size and he struggled to lift it off the bottom of the tank. His one eye became fully clouded over to the point where seems to be nearly blind on that side, and it was popping out horridly. I've tried a variety of treatments since then. The first was
Epsom salt and Kanaplex, following the directions on the medication. That proved useless, so I tried the baths as directed by americanaquariumproducts.com. He got baths with Kanaplex, Furan 2, Epsom salt, and Methylene Blue daily for half an hour. I briefly tried keeping the Kanaplex in the hospital tank in addition to the baths, but it proved to hard on him. These baths did help a tiny bit, but not enough. The website said the medication could be safely double dosed for the bath, so that's what I tried, twice daily. It provided the most results. His bloat went down fairly well and he regained most swimming ability. Although he had maintained a voracious appetite and good energy throughout, he was still extremely skinny. Also, when viewed from above, the bloat was significantly worse on one side than the other. Because he had been going through over a month of treatment at this point and improvements had been made I decided to give him a week break and see what happened.
His condition quickly reversed. The bloat returned full force, making his stomach so heavy he would slowly sink to the bottom of the tank until it was pressed up against the bottom. His eye popped out even further to the point that I feared it would come out of his head. After his 5 day break, I continued the baths with a slight adjustment. Instead of Methylene Blue I used ParaGuard, which actually made his bloat even worse.
Today is when things got really weird. I've noticed a slight discoloration under his right pectoral, but I assumed it was simply a result of the extreme bloating on that side. He's always made it difficult to view or photograph that side of his body for some reason. After his bath tonight I was determined to get a good view of that side, and was very confused at
what I saw. It looks like a perfect spiral, much like a worm. It is a white circle with a dark spiral in it. I cannot for the life of me figure out what kind of organ displacement by the bloat could cause this impression on his side. It looks like a worm curled up just under his skin.
<Might be... I would see/read on WWM re Anthelminthics>
The pictures I got are poor because of the angle of the spiral and the bloat, but they're enough to get the general idea. Is this a worm?
I will post the pictures from oldest two newest and try to show the worst of his symptoms the best I can.
Thank you for your potential help!-Sabrina
<Mmmm; what to you feed this fish? Have you read here?:
Do so. Bob Fenner>

Re: Ill Betta with potential worm     5/13/16
I am so sorry it was so big! I could have swore I shrunk the picture size way down.
<Heeee! Like my bank account?>
Would links to the pictures be better in the future?
<Ah yes; if need be huge, or a big video>
I have read both of those, but nothing seems to quite fit him.
<Mmm; on just reading your input from the one message, seeing the images; my strong guess is that this is a tumorous growth... not directly treatable. Search, read directly on WWM re this supposition>
I feed him Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets, New Life Spectrum pellets, and Hikari frozen foods (bloodworms, daphnia, and Spirulina brine shrimp). He's fed twice a day, 2-3 pellets each time or a roughly equivalent amount in the frozen foods.
<I see>
I did get a better picture that shows the entire portion of the spiral that can be seen without having to flip the Betta over. As the email size is already so large (so sorry, once again!) I'm assuming a link would be better?
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Ill Betta with potential worm     5/13/16

If I attach more than one picture again I'll shrink it down to the size of my college student bank account. You may not be able to see the picture much at all, but it'll be small!
A tumor or cyst is what I have begun to think, but I can't figure out why a tumor would produce a spiral pattern. I did entertain the idea of trichinosis but it's unlikely.
<Perhaps another nematode>
If it is concluded that this is probably a tumor, would it be best to euthanize him or let him live out the remainder of his life?
<Up to you... IF the fish doesn't appear to be suffering.... There are spontaneous remissions.>
The mass/bloating/whatever this is does cause him some swimming difficulty and occasionally make it difficult to get off the floor of the aquarium.
Could he ever return to the main tank, or is he destined to float in it in his pitiful half gallon for the rest of his life?
<I'd return the fish to the main tank>
Thank you again for your time,
<W. B>

Re: Ill Betta with potential worm     5/14/16
Would you recommend attempting another method of deworming, just to be on the safe side?
<Yes; worthwhile. I alluded to this earlier.... Prazi.... B>
Re: Ill Betta with potential worm     5/14/16

I'll be ordering PraziPro today then! I really hope this does the trick!
Thanks for all your help!
<Certainly welcome. Bob Fenner>

Betta illness       1/4/15
I was hoping you could help me diagnose my Bettas. I just got a new Betta, who had some gill iridescence. I was concerned so I put him in his three gallon tank with aquarium salt and Kanaplex. But now the problem has spread
to two other Bettas. All are in separate tanks but I know I shared a bucket between two tanks. Anyway, now I have three Bettas with this gill iridescence which is white on two fishes and blue on another. One of them also has black spots on his head and lately white spots. They look too big to be Ick but it's possible I suppose.
<... Mmmm>
I have one Betta in a 10 gallon, 1 in a 5 gallon and 1 in a 3 gallon.
They receive weekly water changes, twice weekly for the 3 gallon. I monitor  the ammonia levels to ensure it is always at 0 and use Prime for water conditioner.
I've attached a few photos and would appreciate any help you can provide.
<Can't discern w/ any certainty what this is from your pix or descriptions, but this appears to be Protozoal (perhaps Costia/Ichthyobodo or Trichodina) to me. I would treat just the one time w/ Metronidazole. Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta illness     1/5/16
Thank you for your reply. I ordered the med and will give it a try.
<Mmm; please do a bit of reading re my guesses here... Some folks promote a mix of formalin and malachite (and salt).... can be a bit harsh; more people kill their livestock w/ treatments than actual pathogenic diseases.>
If the yellow fish has Ick, would I still see the white spots?
<Yes; Ich is quite apparent on all colors, types of Bettas>
He's a pale color so I wasn't sure if it would present in the same way.
Thanks again!
<Welcome. BobF>

Sick Betta, need advice (RMF, I'm going with Costia; you?) <A good guess. RMF>       4/11/14
I was given your email by Timbra Newbury. She has been helping me with my Betta, Eugene and is out of ideas. She suggested that I email you guys and tell you what has been going on and see if you have any ideas or advice. I guess I'll start with the basics first...
I have Eugene in a 10 gallon tank with Mopani driftwood and fake plants (until the summer when I have time to actually learn how to do real plants). I started out with the Marineland 10 gallon setup. Back in October or November I noticed 2 white spots on Eugene's side. I'm sad to say that it took me until about early December to figure out what the cause was. I finally realized the spots matched where Eugene was sleeping against the heater. He was acting completely normal and I had asked someone at one of the local fish stores about it and they told me the pigment had probable just been burned and he would be fine. In the middle of December, I was away for about a month and my roommate was taking care of Eugene. When I got back in January, there were 2 small lumps on the white spots (one lump per spot). He was still acting normal, so I just figured he had been burned even more. So I bought some plants to cover the heater and a Betta hammock for him to sleep on. Neither of those worked, so I searched the internet for other solutions and for what to do for heater burns. The only thing I could find was that heaters should not burn a fish, even if they are sleeping against it. I then figured the heater was malfunctioning somehow, so I bought a Fluval. He no longer sleeps on the heater, so that's good.
Then a few of his scales turned black, so I decided I should show a picture to my local fish store and see what they suggested. They suggested I use Melafix, so I did. I think I had about 1 more treatment of that and it still didn't look any better, so I posted a picture of Eugene on a fish group on Facebook asking for suggestions, and that's how Timbra got involved.
Timbra told me the Melafix was bad for Anabantoids, so I immediately stopped using that and I gradually did a 100% water change that night.
Timbra suggested I use Furan 2, so I got some of that and did a full course of treatment of it. The appearance of the infection did not change, but he started to act like he was feeling a lot better (I hadn't realized how different he was acting until he started to feel better). Anyhow, Timbra said the appearance may not change right away since the medicine was getting rid of the infection so that his body could begin to heal. Fast forward 2 weeks and the white lumps were getting bigger and it looked like one of his scales was falling off. This time Timbra recommended that I use a combination of Furan 2 and Kanamycin. Last night was the last does of the Furan 2 and tonight will be the last dose of the Kanamycin, and the lumps have not changed and he's still getting tossed around by the filter current. I know Bettas typically have trouble with filter currents, but his favorite thing to do is swim through the current (he's also a half-moon plakat, so he doesn't have the long fins). He used to hover just in front of the current and build up some speed and then shoot through the current and turn around and do it again, he'd repeat this about 4 or 5 times until he got tired out. Now, when he swims through the current he gets pushed forward by it and he tries to avoid the strongest spot as much as possible.
His appetite has never decreased though, he's actually a giant piggy and would eat an endless amount of bloodworms if I let him.
I'm going to send you another email after this with some pictures attached to it. Unfortunately the pictures that I have are all on my iPod touch and I'm not very tech savvy, so I can't figure out how to get them on my laptop. I normally would have just sent an email from the iPod, but this is a book and would have taken me forever to write on that. So, I'm sorry for sending you 2 emails rather than 1. And thank you for any advice you might have.
<Hello Jennifer. My gut reaction here is the disease commonly called Costia or Slime Disease, caused by ciliate parasites such as Chilodonella and Ichthyobodo spp. Costia manifests itself as accumulating patches of slime on the flanks, sometimes alongside obvious inflammation, with secondary bacterial infections (effectively, Finrot) setting into the wounds. It's a tough disease to treat. In some cases, transferring fish to half-strength to full-strength saltwater for extended periods (days, weeks) will do the trick on its own since the parasites come in either seawater or freshwater strains and can't adapt to the "wrong" salinity. But this is only an option with seawater-tolerant things like Mollies and certain cichlids. Dipping in seawater (effectively 35 gram salt dissolved in 1 litre of aquarium water) still makes a useful dip though, for 2-20 minutes depending on the tolerance of your fish. This helps to clear the slime and weaken the parasites. Bettas have low tolerance, so shorter periods of time would be used there. Longer periods work with salt-tolerant things like puffers and livebearers. If you're doing dips though you'll need a medication as well.
Very often, anti-Whitespot/Ick medications work well against Costia, but you may need to use two or three "rounds" of treatment to finally beat it, and if a bacterial infection has set in as well, a suitable anti-Finrot antibacterial medication of your choice. If the disease is really well entrenched, Whitespot medication might not work, in which case you'll need to use Formalin, but this is very nasty stuff, both for you and the fish, so is a last-ditch option. It's a good sign your fish is still eating, and while Costia looks pretty nasty, it doesn't seem to cause rapid decline in  the health of the fish, giving you sufficient time to fix things. A while  back I wrote a piece for FishChannel that might offer some more insight  into Costia and its management; see here:
http://www.fishchannel.com/fish-health/freshwater-conditions/slime-disease.a spx
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick Betta, need advice (RMF, I'm going with Costia; you?)      4/15/14
Hi Neale-
Thank you so much for getting right back to me. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. My weekends are pretty crazy because I work 20 hours between Saturday and Sunday and have school work on top of that. At any rate, I just want to make sure I completely understand everything you've told me before I do any treatments just in case. I tried to click
the link to the Fish Channel article, the site said it didn't exist. I did however, find a list of all the articles you wrote for them and read the one you wrote about slime disease (which is what I'm assuming the link was supposed to take me to).
<Yes, when pasted across to the Daily FAQ page there was an error, which I've now fixed.>
Now as for treatment products... I bought Rid-Ich Plus by Kordon for Ich.
I'm a little worried about it though, as it has Formaldehyde in it and I didn't see that until I got home. Will that be okay to use?
<Formaldehyde is safe to use if used precisely as directed. But some fish, especially oddballs, catfish and loaches, react badly to it. Most community fish (barbs, tetras, gouramis, etc.) are fine though. Just observe the fish carefully, read the instructions before use, and if necessary, remove sensitive fish to another aquarium.>
I also got some Instant Ocean sea salt rather than aquarium salt because from what I gathered, the water needs the be of marine quality. Although, I am not sure if there is a difference between aquarium salt and sea salt, I just figured I should get what you use for saltwater aquariums.
<Well, there is a big difference. Marine aquarium salt is a mix of sodium chloride (what we call "table salt") and other chemicals that harden the water, raise the pH, and provide important trace elements for the corals.
Tonic or freshwater salt is simply sodium chloride, much like you'd put on food, but without the iodine added. You can actually use non-iodised cooking salts (such as kosher salt) to treat fish. In all probability you can use marine salt without problems, but if your water was very soft and acidic before, you may find the pH and hardness go up, and if by a large
amount, that's a potential stress on your fish.>
The actual treatment portion is where I may have gotten a bit confused and want to make 100% sure on. If I understand correctly, I am to do 2 minute (at most anyhow) salt dips, with 35 grams of salt per 1 liter of water and 2-3 courses of Ich treatment.
<Yes; add the Ick treatment to the aquarium, but winkle out the sick Betta, dip him into the salty water, and keep him there for a couple of minutes before putting him back into his aquarium.>
I'm unsure of the antibiotics though since I just completed a course of Furan 2 and Kanamycin. Should I still use erythromycin and how can I tell if there is an infection?
<You really can't. But if you use a general purpose antibiotic and your fish gets better, then probably the fish did have a bacterial infection of some sort.>
You mentioned fin rot as a potential infection, but his fins do not look like they have fin rot and I don't know what it would look like on other parts of his body, or if they can get it anywhere else other than their fins.
<Absolutely. Finrot is simply called that because it's an infection of the fins. But the bacteria that cause it -- Aeromonas and Pseudomonas spp for the most part -- can affect all parts of the body of your fish, inside and out.>
Also, how many salt dips do I do?
<I'd do one first, then observe the fish for the next couple of days. If all is good, you can dip again, leaving 2-3 days before each dip. Unlikely you'd need to do more than 1-3 dips if the medicine is helping.>
Should I expect an obvious sign of this clearing up, such as the white patches and lumps going away?
<Yes; the dip should shift a lot of the cloudiness quickly. Thereafter you should find over the successive days that the underlying oddness of the skin clears up too.>
Or will it be more subtle? If it is subtle, what should I expect or keep an eye out for? Thank you so much for all of your help, I truly appreciate it.
Sorry for all of the questions as well, I am fairly new to all of this and this is the first real health issue I have ever dealt with.
<Glad to hear it! Must be keeping your fish well.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick Betta, need advice (RMF, I'm going with Costia; you?)     4/15/14
Thank you so much. I will start the treatment right away.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Update....Re: How long do you safely treat a Betta fish with gill flukes with the amazing Quick Cure?    12/4/12
He's no longer at the bottom....   he's swimming around with true interest and life today, and he's eaten a second time and more eagerly.  I'm doing a full water change with one drop dose again.
I read so much about what the medicines are and what they treat over the last week, and I found at least 5 different opinions on how to use the formalin alone,
 or recommendations for using it with malachite, and two versions on dosing Quick Cure along with suggestions to wear gloves and goggles when using any of the above mentioned!  With that in mind, I guess I probably shouldn't add an additional drop today.....but maybe I'll keep him in the jug another couple days with daily full water change and one drop medicine as the swelling in the gills appears to be receding.  (This is something I'd read would NOT happen.)
I've never had a Betta come down with flukes before.  I feel terrible he suffered, but at least there was a treatment and it wasn't fatal.  I'm amazed that so many sites recommend Prazi but don't mention as Bob did that it needs to be in the food for freshwater.  It had no effect on my fish when used in his tank.  And if your fish isn't eating, as mine had totally completely stopped eating or caring.... the Quick Cure (and it's formalin I guess) is worth it's weight in gold!  And it only cost 3.00!
<Cheers, BobF>

New Betta...Help! Not eating, env., Lernaea    5/3/11
Hi There-
I am hoping you can help me with my new Half Moon Doubletail Betta. I bought him from Petco 11 days ago and when I first got him home he was very energetic but has never been willing to eat.
<!? Is this system heated, filtered?>
I know that they can be picky eaters so I have tried a couple different brands of food. I previously had a Betta for over two years that finally died a few weeks ago. He loved the Hikari pellets so that is what I have tried to feed the new fish. He initially swam up ate it and then spit it out. I tried again the next day and the same thing happened. I went and bought Betta Min Tropical Medley and tried that. The fish swam up to it and then swam away. I have been trying every day and the fish swims up like it is hungry and then swims away. I tried crushing the pellets thinking that maybe they were to big but he eats them and then spits them out. I have noticed over the last 2 days that he seems lethargic and he looks like he his starting to float on his side. I have also noticed him with his nose to the top of the water (straight up and down). I have been scooping out the uneaten food so that his water doesn't get contaminated. Today a friend of mine gave me dried blood worms to try and the fish swam up and looked at them and swam away.
He is in the same tank that my old Betta loved. It is a gallon bowl with rocks and a plant.
I used Aqua Safe for the tap water and added a drop of stress coat to it. I got a thermometer and it said it is between 72 and 75 degrees. Not sure what else to do. Any suggestions?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
Thanks so much for you time!
P.S. I have attached a picture. He also has these little white things hanging from his bottom fins. Is that normal?
<Mmm, no; these are anchor "worms". Read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anchorwrmfaqs.htm
Likely contributing to this fish's troubles, non-feeding. Bob Fenner>

Re: More re: New Betta...Help! Lernaea  5/3/2011
Thanks so much Bob!
There is so much information on here so I am hoping I am reading correctly.
This is what I am thinking that I need to do....please let me know if I am incorrect. =)
I need to take the fish out of water and carefully remove the white anchors with tweezers (grabbing it right at the entrance spot) and then dab the wound with Mercurical.
I am a little unclear about what to do about the tank since it is a small tank. I am thinking I need to wash the bowl and throw out the gravel, put new gravel in, treat the water with stress coat to take out the chlorine and then add some aquarium salt???
<Mmm, no... I'd wait, see if any intermediate forms have been released by the adults on your Betta. Perhaps they haven't>
Also, should I throw the plant away or just wash it? I know the parasite was on the fish when I bought it. I am hesitant to take it back to the store because they probably won't even bother to treat it. I am praying that I can fix him.
Again, thanks so much for your time. Your website is so helpful!
<Did you read re Betta husbandry, where I referred you? Your fish needs warmer (steady, as in w/ a thermostatic heater) water and a filter. BobF>

Unusual Betta problem  11/16/08 Hello. I'm having a problem with my Betta that I've never encountered in my 4 years in the hobby (I know it doesn't sound like much, but I've seen a lot working in the pet industry). I've tried all sorts of searches online but I can't seem to find anything like it. First, I'll give you some background info. <Please> I have a 10 gallon tank that has been set up for about 3 months. Up until recently, it housed only two male Bettas (with a divider, don't worry!) and whatever Malaysian trumpet snails managed to find their way in there. It has live plants (mainly java fern, water sprite, and a couple species of Anubias) and a small filter. The nitrates have never been above 20, the ammonia and nitrite have steadily been zero for two months, pH is 7.4-7.6, KH is 3 degrees, and GH is 4 degrees. The Bettas were quite content until I pulled some stupid moves. First, I came into possession of a couple baby platies, and was keeping them temporarily in a 2.5 gallon tank. I needed a heater, and the only one I had was in the Betta tank, so I pulled it out thinking the temperature wouldn't drop below 72. I was wrong... it went from 76 to about 68 over a couple days. I was concerned at first, but the Bettas seemed fine, no change in behavior, so I didn't really worry about it at the time. <Mmm, such a stress can/does show up later...> About a week after that, I decided to move my 6 Danios from my 20 gallon tank to the 10 gallon tank, 3 on each side of the divider. I kept an eye on the water chemistry, and other than a 5 ppm raise in nitrates everything stayed the same. I replaced the heater in the tank as well, and the temperature went back up to 76. I knew my Danios were rather boisterous, and I tried to put the most boisterous ones with the Betta that I thought was the tougher of the two. Considering all the stressors I introduced, I'm not surprised that one of my Bettas got sick. However, it's the illness itself, not the cause, that has me befuddled. I first noticed that his gills were hanging slightly open and he was breathing heavily. He would come to the top to eat, but the rest of the time just lay on the bottom. I assumed it was probably a bacterial infection of sorts brought on by stress, and I set up my 2.5 gallon tank as a hospital tank. I put a heater in it, got the temperature to 76, put 1/2 tablespoon of aquarium salt in it, and let it run overnight with an air stone. I transferred him this morning. Tonight, I came home, added .5 ml of Melafix, <Mmm, not a fan> and attempted to feed him. He was VERY interested in food, and practically attacked it... however, he couldn't seem to even get it in his mouth, and that's the bit that has me stumped. It's not like he takes it and spits it back out, it's like he can't even open his mouth enough to get it in. I tried a variety of foods, including flakes and daphnia, and he barely got anything in his mouth. He would lunge after it and end up just pushing it around. It's like Betta lockjaw! I've never seen anything like it, and it's frustrating me. He seems like he would have a great prognosis for recovery if it weren't for the fact that he can't eat -- he's active and interested in food. I'm just wondering what could be causing this? <Could be pathogenic> My best guess is a bacterial infection, but nothing looks red or swollen, he's just skinny, his gills don't close completely, and he can't open his mouth. I even managed to peek into his gills with a flashlight when he had them flared, and they didn't appear swollen at all. In fact, they looked like all the pictures of fish gills I've seen in the text books, healthy pink but not inflamed red or anything. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I don't want to have to euthanize him, but if the treatments don't work I'm worried he faces slow starvation. Thanks, Tamla <Given the symptoms you describe, the course of exposure to other life, am guessing that this may be an instance of Flukes... Please read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/flukesfwf.htm and further on the Net re monogenetic Trematodes. Bob Fenner>

Internal parasites: white, stringy feces, Betta 10/16/06 Hello Wet Web Media crew, <Hello there - this is Jorie> First off, let me just say I love the site, it is extremely informative... <I've learned so much from this site!> ...but I'm a tiny tiny bit stumped on this little' problem with my female Betta.  She has the "white, stringy feces" sign of internal parasites... <Yes, you've likely correctly identified what's going on.>   I am currently using "Parasite Clear - Tank Buddies" by Jungle Brand "With Praziquantel!" as quoted on the box as it had been recommended to me by a few sources.  Unfortunately, to no result (as far as I can tell - of course, one never knows if maybe the resultant white stringy feces may be the dead worms leaving the body, as they seem to be passing much quicker than other cases of this I've had in the past without any meds) <I've found that internal medicated food is the best/only way to successfully treat internal parasites.  Jungle makes one called "Pepso", and you can also find medicated flakes here: http://flguppiesplus.safeshopper.com/234/cat234.htm?380 > Ok, on to the informative stuff.  I have a 29 gallon acrylic planted tank containing 6 Otocinclus, 1 normally striped male dwarf Gourami, and one "fire red" male dwarf Gourami (which may be a morph of the honey dwarf Gourami, but no one seems to know for sure) and previously 3 female Bettas as well as numerous Malaysian trumpet snails and Ramshorn snails and the occasional pond snail (pond snails, when discovered,  find themselves on a magical journey to the male Betta tank for algae control, as he refuses the company of algae eating fish)  My ammonia is 0, nitrites currently are 0 (but are occasionally at .05)... <Nitrites need to be a zero when live fish are in the picture...> PH 7.8, temp 84 when the lights are on, 82 at night. <May want to drop the temp. a degree or two...also, try to minimize that temp. swing from day to night...> I am using a Whisper 30 hang over the back filter with no carbon, but the bio-filter is in, and I use no aeration or CO2. <No "aeration"? I'd suggest adding an air pump or two to get some oxygen into the water...> So, anyway...  My "Ruby" female Betta has been having some white stringy feces hanging out of her anus, so I moved her into a hospital tank (5gl)... <Thank goodness - I was just about to ask if you isolated her! I'm so glad you did...> ...and added aquarium salt to the water (1 tsp/2gl) and used a dose of the Praziquantel med tabs described above. <I'd suggest running carbon and doing water changes to get the present medication out, then switching to the medicated food...>   I also medicated the main tank... ...<WHY? I was so happy to hear to had used a QT tank...you do realize you likely destroyed your nitrogen cycle, so keep a very close eye on ammonia, nitrite and nitrates...I'd suggest testing daily until everything has spiked and lowered...> before doing a 90(ish)% (I got as much water out as possible, but it's almost impossible to get it ALL out without removing everything and letting it air dry for 6 days) to try to remove any possible eggs or whatever and scrubbed the driftwood, rinsed the filter pad (though on reflection, I possibly should have just changed it, and maybe scrubbed the filter itself?), <I'd suggest changing the filter pad - if nothing else, you want to remove any residual medication.  Do keep a close eye on everyone else...> ...put everything back - everyone seems fine, but I popped in the meds as a precautionary measure just in case they happened to have caught it anyway and I hate to lose fish... <It's never a good idea to "preventatively" medicate.  It's much better to do more water changes.  I do understand your fear, though, as my 29 gal. recently was exposed to parasites, and I just yesterday ended up breaking the whole thing down...all remaining fish are in QT.  Anyway, enough about me:-)> The sick fish is eating well enough and is not showing horizontal "fright lines" yet, though she is not as fat as the other females are (though she is lowest on the totem pole, so that could be normal), but she definitely still has the white stringy feces showing now and again - though not constantly, and certainly not for days at a time.  My question is, is this Praziquantel stuff in fact the correct medication for this particular parasite, and, could she possibly be expelling dead worms, and be "on the mend" so to speak? <Not likely - a sign of continued infestation.  Try the medicated food - that's probably just what she needs.  If she needs incentive to eat it, try soaking it in a couple of drops of Kent's Garlic Xtreme.   AND, if it just so happens that I've been giving her the wrong meds, what would you recommend I get, as I'm beginning to believe that I should medicate my females whenever I get a new one for this particular infestation, as I believe the supplier feeds his Bettas live black worms or other live foods and gives them all horrible parasites.  (look like crap in the store, beautiful in my tank..  sigh) <No, do not medicate unless you see active signs of illness.  DO quarantine all new fish, especially in light of the info. about what these fish are fed.  Maybe consider keeping them in QT 2 mos. or so (longer than usual), just to be safer.>   Oh, yes, I do not feed my fish live foods. <Glad to hear that.  I don't either.>   I feed them Betta Bites (for the Bettas) and TetraMin Tropical Crisps for the gouramis, so I'm assuming I'm not the one introducing these parasites. <Likely you are not.  Try alternating their diets with frozen bloodworms and Mysis shrimp - they'll be ecstatic! My Bettas go nuts for those treats, and since they aren't live (I use the Hikari brand), there's no risk of parasites.  Fish do need some variety in their diet.> Alright, I hope I've covered all the basic info you will need to (hopefully) help me with this...  (in my long, rambling writing style - I hope I haven't bored you to tears yet)  And if you need any more info, please let me know and I will be more than happy to tell you anything I can. <LOL! You write just like I do - I can relate! No, I'm not bored at all - more info. is better.  Hopefully I've helped you!> Thank you very much in advance, Alyssa <You are welcome.  Jorie>

Internal parasites: white, stringy feces PART 2 - 10/18/06 Thank you, Jorie, for replying.  :) <You're welcome.> Well, as an update:  I did not get the medicated foods, as they don't seem to carry them at my LFS (oddly...  I'm in Seattle...  I'll check around) <I've had trouble finding medicated foods locally as well.  Try http://www.drsfostersmith.com or http://www.flguppiesplus.com > But, on the bright side of things, Ol' Ruby seems to be fattening up just a little (I've been over-feeding her just a little to see if she would or not.  I'm assuming that this would be a good way to check for parasites, as she would likely not fatten up?  I'm a little afraid I'll give her dropsy, though...) <Probably not a good idea to overfeed...just so long as you are feeding a small amount of quality food (e.g., Hikari, Spectrum New Life pellets, frozen bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, etc., as previously mentioned> Anyhow, and the good news is, I haven't seen any white stringy poops in a few days. <Great!> I did a good water change of the hospital tank to remove anything in there, and she's kicking around like she's bored to tears, checking out the plastic ornaments and the boys (hospital tank is right next to the boys' divided tank)  But I'm thinking of keeping her in quarantine for another week or two before I let her back in the main tank, and I'd like to find the medicated foods...  as of course, internal parasites seem to be a problem from my suppliers. <I think that's a great plan - can't hurt to "over" quarantine.  Keep up with the water changes, and I really would try to find the med. food online.>   Ok, that settled my main question - Praziquantel, probably good...  but better as a food additive. <Yes...the medicated foods I am most familiar with contain Metronidazole, though...> Maybe it helped that I would dose the tank, and then feed her?   <I don't want to suggest the external meds don't work, it's just usually that the medicated food is more effective.  But hey, if the symptoms are gone, that's all that matters, right?! Keep an eye out, though, as discussed above...> lol...  and maybe that she would pick at it.  Anyway, the rest of my tank seems to be healthy, no one seems to care that I drained the tank, re-did everything and put everyone back sans one female Betta. <Perhaps they enjoyed the distraction? I find my Bettas like it when I rearrange decor occasionally...smart little fish - they do tend to get bored, as you've noted above also...> A note about the aeration:  I have quite a few plants in there, and my fish are labyrinth fishes, so an airstone would be a tad redundant, I think. <I'd suggest a powerhead instead, for water circulation sake.  The plants would likely appreciate it.  You're right, though, in the sense that the labyrinth fish do breath from the surface, but that doesn't mean they appreciate water devoid of O2...> Just my feelings...  maybe I will get an airstone eventually. But for now everyone seems to be doing excellently.  Thank you very much for the advice, as I build out my med kit:-) <Yes, good to have medication on hand.  Best of luck - sounds as though Ruby is improving - glad to hear it!  Jorie> Alyssa

Sick Beta... Betta  - 11/13/06 The active ingredients for the parasite killer was: sodium chloride, Metronidazole, Praziquantel, its called jungle fish health internal parasite guard. <A good product> The only things that were in the tank was gravel and a live plant, but he has been in a separate tank for a bit now with only some gravel so I don't know what kind of poisoning it could be. <Mmm, many possibilities... household cleaners, aerosols, a bug flying in...> The bad thing is that he has another symptoms: slightly raised scales just around the swollen abdomen. <Ascites... "bloat", dropsy> The question is should I euthanize him or can I treat him? <Mmm, yes> I really don't want to kill him because I know that they can get over dropsy, but probably not if I can't figure out the problem and treat it, and I do not want to make him suffer. Thanks for your quick reply. Hope I can help him. <At this juncture, a broad spectrum antibiotic... BettaMax would be my choice... You have read on WWM re Betta Disease? Bob Fenner>

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

Betta parasite??  3/30/06 Hi, <Hello there> Firstly let me apologize that the photo is not as clear as I would have liked... unfortunately the male Betta in question is apparently not a fan of being photographed. <I understand> I have owned him for approximately 5 weeks, we purchased him as a replacement for our previous male with intent to attempt to breed. I noticed around 2 weeks after we got him home that he had a small (approx. 1-2mm) white growth on the rear portion of his dorsal fin. However it vanished after a couple of days. He usually resides in alone in a 4 gallon tank with a small sponge filter, a couple of Java ferns and a heater. As we intended to breed him with one of our 2 females (currently sharing an identical home) we had set up and cycled a 2 gallon spawning tank.   Just before we moved our male Betta into the spawning tank we noticed that he was acting a little strangely... he seemed to spend rather a lot of time swimming in small circles around the suction cups which hold the heater in place.  He would also suddenly swim very quickly and erratically then stop. <Not totally atypical behavior for this species, sex> I moved him into the intended spawning tank (after acclimating him of course) to have a better look, as this tank has a light, and have now noticed that this small white growth has reappeared, only this time above his gill as the photo shows. It is very small (again 1-2mm) and protrudes from his skin rather than laying flat against it. It is rounded at the end and seemed to shrink and turn slightly grey in response to the 10 minute salt bath we tried yesterday, but has now returned to its full, white glory. I have scoured the web and your site for info on parasites, which I assume it to be since it has moved from his fin, and since it appears to be causing him some discomfort, but the only similar things I can find are Ich - which it most certainly isn't as there is only one, and Anchorworm, which aren't normally white and resemble hairs (or so I gather). <Yes... the "egg sacs" stick out like a bifurcated tail...> This "thing" is quite thick (maybe between 0.5-1mm) and I am at a loss as to what it might be, and how to rid my Betta of it. He doesn't appear to be ill... no clamped fins, eating fine, still flaring for the ladies, no listlessness or loss of colour, just the occasional odd bout of swimming in circles. I do hope you can help, as we (and I'm sure him too) are eager to begin breeding, but obviously don't want to start if there are parasites around! Thanks in advance. Kindest Regards, Lindsey <Well... this could be "nothing" but a reaction site... in infected part of the Neuromast system (the "head and lateral line")... or might involve a protozoan like Octomita/Hexamita... or even a "higher" invertebrate parasite... If it were me/mine I would treat this animal with Flagyl/Metronidazole (for Protozoans), and see if the one-shot application "does it". Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta parasite??    4/3/06 Hi Bob, <Lindsey> Thanks so much for your reply. Just thought I would give you a progress report. As you also thought it likely to be a parasite I decided to give my Betta a weak WS3 Malachite Green bath for 20 min.s, as I had some of this in the house (the only anti-parasite I keep around as I find it incredibly good for savage Ich outbreaks) and it was proving difficult to find Metronidazole. A day later the "parasite" was all but gone, leaving just a grey dot. Today it has gone completely... I'm keeping an eye on him for a week or so before we attempt to breed him to ensure it hasn't just moved again! I'm also continuing my search for Metronidazole in case it returns. Thanks again for your help Lindsey <Great news! Thank you for this update. Bob Fenner>

Cut Lip and maybe Chilodonella First I have to say this site has been a godsend to my little guy and me.  Background. I've had Buttah the Betta a month. He lives in a 1 gallon tank with two plants, some gravel and his best friend the thermometer. He loves to swim around and around and around the bottom of it. The tank does fluctuate about 2 degrees at night, but I keep it as constant an 80 degree environment as possible. I half cover his tank with a black towel at night so he can get some sleep, but the light still heats him (and he can see me. I treat the water with either Betta Plus or Betta Basics bowl conditioner, as well as aquarium salt with each water change. His pH is a constant 6.8 to 7. I do a 5% water change with every meal, siphoning out the missed bits and his pottyposits. I replace the water very slowly with pre-prepped water that I always keep on hand. I do a 30 - 50% change every 3 days and a 100% every 7. 4 Days ago I bought a snail for his tank, just cuz, and slowly introduced it. He seemed to think it a cool enough companion, nudging and watching it, but within 24 hours snail was dead. I removed it, (he missed it immediately) siphoned off all the debris from the floor and did an 80% water change, but I noticed that Buttah was acting very itchy all of a sudden. I saw no overt indication of anything wrong other than his sudden twitches and rushes, but I kept a close eye on him reading up on parasites here. I am afraid he may have contracted Chilodonella? <Where would this have vectored from?> His colour is fine, but he has extended moments of lethargy, just lying on the gravel, most unlike him, and exhibits strained breathing, not the regular underwater yawn before a surface, but his gills pumping hard enough to make him rock while at rest. He is a surface kinda guy, sleeping on a leaf near the top of his tank. He loves to literally race around his tank in the same pattern over and over, but he has never shown this kind of strained breathing before. His appetite is still good. He prefers frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp and daphnia over all flakes, pellets and freeze dried. Actually, he won't even look at these. So I thaw and warm the frozen food then drop it into his tank with tweezers at feeding. At breakfast this morning he jumped at the tweezers and clipped his bottom lip, HARD. I do not think he tore it, but it is swollen and ever so slightly *pouty*. He did not seem phased at first, but then he began rushing at the surface and gulping the air when he took it, then he swam away frenzied. I am afraid surface breathing was painful for him and he became lethargic and withdrawn all day even resting on the gravel and clamping his fins for a while. I was not sure if it was his lip or the above mentioned discomfort. I did a 100% water change (He has a 1/2 gallon holding tank with a plant that I keep prepped and warm for 100% changes and emergency, so he is content in there while his 1 gallon settles over night.) He has perked up, but sometimes he still looks like he is having trouble breathing and occasionally he hiccups??? <This behavior is natural...> Very Concerned. The way I feel about this little gut is the only difference between him and a puppy is you can pet the puppy. He seems brighter, but he still settles onto the bottom as if just too exhausted to play or he races around suddenly like he is trying to shake something off. His color is good, (though his face seems a little pale), his fins are not clamped and he is 80% his usual hellion self, but he is still twitching and itching, or so it seems. I am taking a water sample into my LFS tomorrow and I will be picking up some Maracide and some Beta Fix, as well as an ammonia kit. Can the Betta Fix and Maracide be used together? Is there anything I can do for his lip?? It looks so uncomfortable. Thank you in advance for whatever help you give, even if is a hyperlink to the appropriate page.  Kate <You show good care and great compassion for your Betta friend... I doubt if it is encountering Chilodonella or other parasitic disease... these come from other fish, live foods... Very likely the hard breathing et al. stemmed from the dead snail incident... these often are "doomed" to not recover... and the wound from the tweezers should heal in time. I would just continue with the good care you list and all should be fine. One last note, warning to you to keep the water level down a few inches to prevent Buttah from jumping out altogether. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Cut Lip and maybe Chilodonella Update
Hi Bob, (or crew member if Bob is busy elsewhere.) *waves, big smile* I sent a quick thank you reply to your swift response saying things were well with Buttah the Betta, but I may have jumped the gun. He was wonderful when I left for work this morning, swimming happily around his clean 1G tank, treated with its 2 drops of Melafix and 1 of Maracide. He ate a decent, (not overfed) meal and I headed off to work. When I came home I thought at first he was just happy to see me, but then I realized that although he *was* happy I was home he was/is also itching like crazy, bouncing off his plants and thermometer then centering in his tank to stare at me and just twitch and twitch. Not Buttah behaviour at all. Staring at me, yes, twitching like a demented neurotic, no. As I mentioned in my first e-mail, he looks almost as if he has the hiccups. His fins appear fine and undamaged so far. When he is not swimming and twitching he rests on his leaf, but when he decides to move about, t he cycle begins again. Slam, twitch, bump, twitch. He seems to be favouring his left gill, knocking it into the plants more than anything else, although his right one gets a good knock on occasion too. I checked his gills when he was flaring and they look fine but after all if I can see the parasite, I think he'd be in real trouble. As you felt the snail that died would not have transmitted Chilodonella, might he just be high-strung (ya think?) and could it be Ick? If so, I can try to slowly get his tank up to 82 - 85 degrees, as well as his replacement water, but as Ick lives in all waters wouldn't upping his water changes be counter productive by adding to his stress level? <I would skip adding any more "Fix", but keep up the Maracide treatment, raise temperature and mix in half a teaspoon of salt> And how long does it usually take for this parasite to clear up? <IF it is a parasite, a week or so> I read somewhere (perhaps even one of the pages on this site) to treat until all behaviour and symptoms are gone and then for another ten days just to be on the safe side. Poor guy, I am sure he would just like his normal life back. I always siphon any replacement waters back into his tank very slowly, as if it were a normal, slow running stream in nature, so I intend to do a slow, stress-less 20 - 30% replacement with treated water before I go to bed this evening and I am willing to do so everyday if need be but if you feel it is too much please advise. Oh, and btw, his lip is already looking *much* better.  Again my thanks in advance for any help you may offer.  <Stay the course here... all should work out. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cut Lip and maybe Chilodonella
Cut Lip and maybe Chilodonella Reply:  "I am afraid he may have contracted Chilodonella?" <Where would this have vectored from?> I had feared he might have contracted it from the snail. Thank you for your reassurances, Mr. Fenner. <...One last note, warning to you to keep the water level down a few inches to prevent Buttah from jumping out altogether. Bob Fenner> LOL, thanks again. Yes, he is a feisty wee lad. I always keep a good amount of space at the top of his tanks, about an inch in his holding tank and 1.5 in his regular. Both of these are lidded, the lids only ever up when I am feeding him or seated beside the tank. I am treating his tank with Melafix (decided against Beta Fix) for the week just in case he actually did tear that lip, but he seems 100% back to his happy and healthy self.  Thanks Again: Kate <Ah, you're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cut Lip and maybe Chilodonella Upset - Take...?
Hey crew, sorry to be such a pest. This is an update of the earlier update and I am afraid my wee guy is really sick. How can he go from so happy and healthy to so sick so fast!? <There are infectious diseases (bacterial mainly) that can act quickly... though most complaints are environmental in origin> I am sure it was that snail.  His banging into his thermometer has bruised his side, his fins are already beginning to fray, his colour, though his fins are still iridescent, is grey and his fins are clamped and all this since 6 PM PST. I am fighting the tears as he is just so damned uncomfortable and I am afraid he has something really aggressive and may lose him over night. I mean, what the heck happened between my going to work this AM and now? Could he be reacting to the Maracide and the MelaFix? <Yes... particularly the latter> I am grasping at straws here. Help? I have read all I can absorb without popping and do not want to over treat him. I feel so blasted helpless. Kate <Not much more you can/could do Kate. Bob Fenner>

Re: Buttah the Betta is dying Hey Crew, hope you had not too crazy a day with people inundating you with questions. Where would any of us be without all of you? <Where we are... perhaps with a bit less knowledge, solace> I know it is what you are here for but it has to be tough. I sent you 3 mails yesterday alone. Sadly Buttah seems to be declining. Last night he turned the most god awful shade of grey and just rested on his ventrals gasping. I have no idea what brought this on other than perhaps a reaction to the drop of Maracide (for what I now know was obviously some kind of evil parasite and the 2 drops of Melafix for his cut lip in his clean, prepped, 1G tank. As I mentioned, he *was* what I thought to be 100% when I left for work yesterday morning. He was playful, bright, good appetite, swimming about as he always does, just his usual content, happy self. When I came home he was bashing himself into his plants and his thermometer. He did eat some, (frozen blood worm and brine shrimp) but things seemed to go downhill from there prompting me to do a 30% water change with unmedicated water. (also as mentioned these are as stressless as I can make them, pH and temp. matched and a slow siphon replacement) He did perk up a tiny bit in the fresher water, but then just took to sitting at the surface on his plant where he remained without moving from 11 PM until 7 AM gasping every few minutes. I was very pleased to see him alive when I when I woke up. I was even allowed to stroke his back. This did not seem to startle him at all. He just looked up at me, sighed, woke up and swam about, twitching and twisting as if he would like to turn himself inside out. He returned to his plant to just sit and breath. ALL his fins were clamped, and I have noticed red marks at the base of his pectoral fins, (the right is worst) red spots on his gill flap (again the right) and his iridescent scales on his face (they surround his gills and his gill flap making a beautiful point on his chin) seem brighter. When he does swim, or frankly float, about he tends to flop to one side and he really is contorted as if against some hidden pain. And he is seriously gaping for air. No matter if on the surface or resting on the bottom. <I would discontinue the Melafix use... this material is starting to make me feel less than simply uneasy... TOO many cases of it seeming to be responsible for troubles. Am sending these notes to Aquarium Pharmaceuticals (Manufacturer)... the old owners are friends of mine and appreciate input.> As stresslessly as I could I have returned him to his 1/2 quarantine/holding tank. Like his 1G, this water is steady 80, but it has not got any Melafix or Maracide in it. It has a touch of extra Betta Basic Water Conditioner (1/8th tsp) and a hint more salt. (1/16th tsp). It was prepped 48 hours before placing him in it. In half an hour he had gone from sitting on the bottom or floating on the top 85% of the time, he looking like he is battling a swim bladder issue, to being brighter and more interactive. But he is still gasping, tilting, very lethargic and his breathing is still strained. He also periodically slides backwards, going vertical even coming to rest on his tail. I know I read something about that here on the site but I am typing this in a rush to get to work and do not have time to go looking. If moving him to the smaller tank is any indication, God willing, maybe there is hope for him. I am seriously beside myself about this as he appeared perfectly fine yesterday morning aside from mild itching and as I mentioned what seemed like hiccups. I am convinced it was that wretched snail and I somehow introduced something wicked into the larger tank. I am not going to feed him this morning as I think that could be counter productive and I doubt he has an appetite. I swear he prefers this smaller tank and, if he survives whatever this is, I may just make it his permanent one. Bigger does not seem to be better in Buttah's case. I have been reading up on velvet, on Ich, on septicemia and am frankly more confused now than helped. (okay, he just leapt out of his tank, I did not have the lid down. I immediately scooped him back in and closed it but now he is nose diving, falling over, floating on his back. God what am I to do!?)  I do hope one of you can find the time to get back to me on this matter today although I am afraid he is dying before my eyes. I am so thankful for this site. Sending this off with an aching heart, sincerely, Kate <STOP using the Melafix. Bob Fenner>
Re: Buttah Didn't Make it
Sadly Buttah died not five minutes ago. No, wait, there is still some very minor gill activity and he is still gasping. I am still at a loss as to what happened. I sent 2 follow up e-mails after this one but I hold little or no hope at this time. Thanks all the same, my friend. =:( Kate <Very sorry to hear of your and your Betta's plight. Bob F>

Rod-like fins on Betta Hi Robert, <Nelly... my mother's name...> I have a sick Betta with rod-like fins and tail. (As far, this is the best site I found). <Yikes... sounds very much like "Anchor Worm"... a copepod parasite... please see the pix here: Yucky Anchor Worm>  About ten months ago I got 3 male Bettas: blue, turquoise and purple. The blue one (the most beautiful) died soon after I got them. The fins and tail looked rod-like. When I showed the sick fish to the man in the pet store from where the Betta came, he told me that he never seen such a disease.  However he suggested trying BettaFix which I did with no results. <Mmm, no... a sort of anti-microbial... not useful against metazoans... you want an organophosphate (yes, like the insecticides)> Then after a few months the purple Betta was in the same condition. I had Melafix by that time and after only one treatment she was fine. Miraculously the fins had opened again like a mantel. At that time I was not aware that BettaFix and Melafix are the same thing (Melaleuca-or tea tree oil) only in different concentration, so you need more drops from the weaker solution. <Yes... both Aquarium Pharmaceutical's products> Now the turquoise Betta is sick for about 2 weeks with the same symptoms.  None of the BettaFix has helped him. He eats does not get better. He does not move very much around and his color is fading. I do not think this is fin rot because the fins are there [and] he just [can't] open them. I keep each Betta in one-gallon cylindrical glass container, use Aquarium salt, Stress Coat Water Conditioner and change the water frequently, so never gets polluted. The temperature is in the high 70s Fahrenheit. There are not small heaters on the market to be used for 1-gallon container, but I have underneath a heating pad that provides the right temperature. <Good> The water test shows ideal for pH, Chlorine, Ammonia, Nitrates and Nitrites. To reduce the amount of the stress I also have a piece of cardboard between the glass vases so they fight only when I remove the cardboard. I think that in nature they fight, but only if there is an intruder (which can not be all the time).  <Good move> Is it possible to identify the disease by looking at the photo in the attachment? <Mmm, the attachment would not load through Hotmail... Argggghhhh... Would you kindly try re-sending it to here, the WWM mail server?> I have showed the picture with the sick Betta to people in several fish stores around and nobody knows about it. What should I do to save this courageous boy? <Treat with Dimilin, DTHP/Masoten/Dylox/Neguvon... these active ingredients... IS sold for pet-fish use by several names...> Thank you so much for you comprehensive site. Nelly <Getting better by bits and pieces. Bob Fenner> 

Constipated Betta? I emailed you all about a week ago and was telling you what was wrong with our Betta here at work.   <Yes, I recall, Sandra.  Hope all is well with you.> He is going on five years old and for the last couple weeks, he hasn't been himself. I have not seen him eat in over a week. And he has been doing nothing but laying on the rocks on the bottom.   <I'm very sorry to hear that.> He shows no signs of any diseases.  Yesterday, we put a new lily in his vase because the old one was dying <Ahh, this could very well have been what was making him feel unwell before; have you tested ammonia, nitrite, nitrate?  I'd bet ammonia was elevated with decaying plant material.> and today he has been more active except he has a white string (I think feces) hanging out of his belly.   <Often a sign of internal parasites or constipation.> His belly is a little swollen but it seems maybe he is trying to pass feces now. Its really gross. It looks like a white blob hanging out from his abdomen. He is just severely constipated? <A strong possibility, yes.> I tried feeding him a pea but he wont eat anything. <Try feeding him daphnia, perhaps, or other foods of high roughage content (like the pea you tried), as it might help him pass the blockage.  Uh, also, just a thought - did you squeeze the shell off the pea?  If not, try that again.  Another thing to try is adding Epsom salts, at a rate of one tablespoon to ten gallons (so about a teaspoon to three gallons, go down from there, depending on the size of his tank).  Hopefully this will do the trick.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.> Sandra Taylor

(Still) Constipated Betta? Hello again, <Hi Sandra, Sabrina here again> Henry (our Betta) is still not doing good. His belly seems to be swollen more. <Yikes, I'm sorry to hear that.> Maybe he has internal parasites instead of constipation.   <It is possible, but there might be other causes/solutions too, especially at his age (five years, right?) - most importantly, are his scales sticking out, pinecone fashion?> What should we treat him with?   <*If* it's a parasitic infection, "Discomed" manufactured by Aquatronics is a good medicine to help out.  It is administered via food, just follow the directions on the box.  But, I must say, it may very well not be a parasitic infection; though that is a strong possibility (if it's not simply constipation), there are a few bacterial infections that may cause such a condition, as well.  Again, of some importance - are his scales sticking out?> He still has white stuff coming out of his belly and it is really swollen. I haven't put salt in his bowl yet. <Please do add Epsom salts, this really, really may help.> Should we do that for parasites? <In either case, it may help - certainly worth a shot.> There is only almost a gallon of water in his bowl , that's all. Not sure how much salt to put in. <Well, general rule of thumb is one tablespoon per ten gallons, so it comes to right around one third of a teaspoon for one gallon.  Mix it into a small cup of water from his bowl, then pour it in.> Please Advise Back <I do hope your little guy overcomes this!  Please keep in touch.  -Sabrina>
(Still) Constipated Betta, II
Hi Sabrina, <Hi, Sandra> No. Henry's scales are not sticking out <Good> but he has clamped fins. And he has a constant string of (poop?) hanging on him (hope its not worms, it is white) and now he stays at the top of the bowl instead of the bottom and he seems to be gasping for air. <Could still be constipation, could be intestinal parasites, or possibly internal bacterial infection.> I still haven't seen him eat. I will try to add the salt today and hopefully it may help. If not, I will try the medication you suggested. <If you try the Discomed, perhaps try it with either live brine shrimp or frozen bloodworms, hopefully these will be irresistible foods to your Betta....> I will keep in touch and let you know how he is doing. <Yes, please.  I'll keep my fingers crossed!> Thanks for your advice!!  Sandra Taylor <Any time, Sandra.  I do hope your old timer Betta can recover.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
(Still) Constipated Betta, III
Hi Sabrina, <Hello again, Sandra> I could not find the "Discomed" at my pet store, I did find some stuff called "Myacin", it is supposed to treat bacterial infections. It is an antibiotic called Erythromycin.   <Mm, I generally do not recommend erythromycin except in cases where one can be relatively certain of what bacteria you're dealing with, since erythromycin is only effective against gram-positive bacteria.  It may be helpful in your case, it may not.> What I am wondering is if it is ok to use it now since I already put the salt in??? <Should be just fine.> Or do I need to do a water change and then put the "Myacin" in? It is a capsule and you just put the powder in the water. One table per 10 gallons of water, so should I only use about a pinch? <For this or any other antibiotic to be effective, it really must be administered in an accurate dose - I do recall one good, broad-spectrum antibiotic called "BettaMax" that might be more useful to you, especially with its directions for dosing Betta containers - it is a blend of sulfa drugs and Nitrofurazone, I believe, and I know I've seen it at large chain pet stores.> We only put a pinch of salt in. I cant tell yet if it is helping him. <You used Epsom salts, right?  You can use a whole third of a teaspoon, and it won't hurt if you go over that a bit.  This will help him by relieving pressure of fluid build-up, and help him pass any blockage, if he's constipated.  Really, no disadvantages.> I really feel like he has an infection because his area where he poops is all swollen. <It could still be any one of those three possibilities - constipation, internal parasites, or internal bacteria - though I am starting to think it is probably not simply constipation.  Ooh, another thing you can look for to try - see if you can find "Pepso Food", made by Jungle Labs - this is geared to be used as a precautionary measure against internal parasites in newly acquired fish, but it also has some antibacterial properties, might be worth a shot, in either case.  Here's a link to Jungle's info on Pepso Food, so you can see what it looks like: http://www.junglelabs.com/pages/details.phtml?item=NJ169 .  Of course, if you can find a good quality antibacterial or antiparasitic food, that might be the best option all around. I'm am sorry to keep bothering you but I really would like to save him. <It is no bother to try to help you, don't worry about that - I'd like you to be able to save your fish as well.  Good luck, and I do hope he recovers.  -Sabrina> Thanks again,  Sandra Taylor
(Still) Constipated Betta, IV
Sabrina, <Hello again!> Just wanted to let you know that Henry died last night. <Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that!> We are sad. But he was very old. <Indeed - as I recall, he was with you for five years.... very old for a Betta.  Perhaps it was just "his time".> And I'm glad he is not suffering anymore. <Of course.> But I wanted to thank you for all your advice!!! <Any time, Sandra.  I'm sorry Henry didn't recover, but at his age, it probably would have been a minor miracle if he had.  Rest assured that your Betta lived a very long, full life.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina.> Sandra Taylor

Gyrodactylus? Re: Constipated Betta While we're at it, I'd like to ask your opinion/advice.... <Okay> A girl in the forums has been having problems with her Betta; you might recall our ongoing WWM correspondence "Constipated Betta", now on its, what, twelfth segment, I think. Anyhow, at this point, she has seen what looks like a long-ish, dark, worm-looking thing inside the Betta, either in its intestines or in the body cavity of the fish. The fish's belly is very swollen. After starting treatment with Levamisole, the fish may be improving, and has been pooing much better, although feces is sometimes clear, sometimes brown. From what I've read, this indicates Capillaria, perhaps?  <Possibly. My best guess considering the info. is some sort of nematode> I'm pretty convinced, in any case, that there's some sort of internal worm or wormlike parasite going on, here. To put a spin on things, though, she took a fecal sample to a vet that agreed to look and see what she could find; this is a first for the vet (can't imagine much fish poo goes in to vets, these days, heh). The vet apparently decided the fish has Gyrodactylus - but as far as I can find, these skin flukes would have essentially nothing to do with such a bloated belly.  <There are monogenes found elsewhere, but my guess is still a roundworm... the adults and eggs of same are very different... the Vet could give the fish a vermifuge and dislodge the adult/s...> I guess I'm getting confused, here; not sure if my texts are good on information at this point. If you might take a look at the forum link, here it is: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=15483&start=45&msRange=15 Really, only the fourth page is pertinent at this point, if you don't want to read the whole thing ;) And even then, I think I've summed it up pretty well, no real need to read it at all, unless you like, and might want to throw in your .02 worth. Sorry to bug yah.... -Sabrina <I would prescribe an Anthelminthic... and possibly Epsom. Bob Fenner>

Lucifer the Betta, feeling like the devil Hi, my name is Sara and my Bettas name is Lucifer. <sounds like a cute Betta... hehe> Over the past couple of days he has started to twitch a lot, like he is itchy. <He might have a gill parasite, which you won't be able to see.> I can't see any red or white bumps on him but this morning I woke up and his lower fin was shabby on the ends (it looks torn). <Most likely he is rubbing himself on objects to try and scrape the parasite free (which he will not be able to do).  If he is seems to be at the surface breathing a lot then it might be Chilodonella. This is a dangerous parasite that effects fish. The symptoms are excessive rubbing of skin, laboured 'breathing', loss of appetite, lethargy, clouded skin and   fish spending too much time lying dormant on the aquarium floor. Chilodonella   is a dangerous parasite because it has a wide temperature range that it can   live in, and also because symptoms don't show up until late in the disease when   it may be to late to save the fish.  Parasite medications easily treat Chilodonella - just remember to remove any   activated carbon from filter.  There are other parasites that manifest the same symptoms in fish, you can visit our freshwater Parasite section on WetWebMedia.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm> I got him from the pet shop two weeks ago. He is in a five pint vase which I have treated with complete water conditioner and I have changed half the water each week. <Water changes are a must for these fish so they don't get a body fungus or other illness due to weakened immune systems.> I feed him 1-2 freeze dried blood worms a day. The other day my partner fed him 2 mosquitoes (freshly swatted) he seemed to really like them. <Bettas are bug eaters in the wild.  They feast on mosquito larva and any other bugs they find in their ecosystem.> The temperature here (Sydney Australia) has been quite warm lately as we are  in the middle of summer. He is in a warm sunny place. I thought he might have fin rot but I couldn't find anything that explained the twitching. <Many times when the water gets warmer, the parasites and microfauna in the water start to breed faster, and this increase in the normal amount of bugs gets to much for the fishes immune system to handle.  I suggest you look at getting a larger tank for the fish, so you don't have to constantly be changing water.  Also, you can medicate the fish with Maracide or CopperSafe, Use Maracyn-Two, Maracyn, Tetracycline or TriSulfa to prevent secondary infections from bacteria> I hope the information I have given you is helpful. thank you  for taking the time to help me. Sara. <Good luck with the fish, hope he gets better.  -Magnus>

Betta Problem My son purchased a Betta about 1 month ago.  Seemed fine.  Living in tap water using drops.  For about the past week or so - the fish seems to stay on the bottom most of the time - but all of a sudden will start dashing around, jerking - almost like it's having seizures - then will settle back down to the bottom.  I don't see anything unusual on the fish itself like spots or anything.  We also have another Betta that we bought at the same time - it's in the same living conditions as the other one and it is fine.  Any ideas what may be wrong? >>Sounds like it could be a parasite. Does the water temp change a great deal? What is the temp in the early morning? Do you do regular water changes, using water the same temperature? The problem with Bettas in winter is generally fungus on the fins due to the cold room temperatures. But fluctuation can bring on Ich. You can try using Quick Cure or any other anti-parasitic medication, and see how it goes. -Gwen

Black spots on Bettas Hi, <Hello, Pam!  Sabrina here, hoping I can help> I have been raising Bettas for about a year now. I bought one that looked dirty, he had black spots on him or "patches of black". Don't know what I was or wasn't thinking when I purchased him. At any rate the black has spread to other fish. Mainly the females. But, some are on my males too. <Can you give us a few details about the black patches?  Are they small, large?  Raised, or seems to be part of the coloration?  Also, could you give us some specs on your tank(s) / setup(s), primarily pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate readings?  Are the Bettas acting normal?  Fins clamped, or anything else amiss?> I searched and searched for this prob. all over Betta sites. I know I saw it a while back somewhere. But can't find it now, naturally. <Well, there is one parasitic illness that comes to mind, referred to as "black spot", but this is a digenetic fluke (requires multiple hosts) that is usually only seen in wild fish or in ponds, or in instances where wild snails have been introduced into an aquarium.  I'm more inclined to think that this discoloration in your Bettas is related perhaps to water quality issues, so do run some water tests (or, if necessary, have your LFS check it for you), and do water changes if necessary.> My two year old makes it very hard to get on here to search. <Quite understandable!> So, please help me. What is it, and how do I fix it? They seem fine, not scratching, eating well and are active. It just makes them look "dirty". Please help me!!  P.S. I know you prob. cant send me a personal email about the whole deal, but, if at all poss. Could you tell me when it will be posted and exactly where? <This will be posted at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs.htm probably tomorrow.> Thank you so much for any help you give me, Pam

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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