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FAQs on Betta Diseases: Treatments

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 25, Betta Health 26, Betta Health 28, Betta Health 29, Betta Health 30, Betta Health 31,

Betta Disease Causes/Etiologies: Determining/Diagnosing, Environmental (By far the largest cat.), Nutritional, Viral/Cancer, Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal) , Parasitic: Ich/White Spot, Velvet; Senescence/Old Age,

FAQs on Betta Medicines: Salt for Treating Bloat, Betta Medicines period, Antibiotics/AntibacterialsAnti-Protozoals (Metronidazole, eSHa...), Copper, Formalin, Malachite Green, Anthelminthics, Organophosphates, All Other Betta Med.s (Mela-non-fix, Quinines...) 

You'll need to pay particular attention to water quality and be ready to change out water... Using medications often kills off beneficial microbes; including biological filtration. Beware of leaf extracts/"Fixes" trying to pass as medicines

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta velvet with possible copper poisoning      12/17/16
Hello, I'm afraid I need to trouble you for help with my sick Betta fish.
<Oh dear!>
10 days ago I noticed he was acting oddly, clamped fins, resting on the bottom, labored breathing (but still had his appetite). I grabbed a flashlight and saw what I felt pretty confident was velvet on him. I put him into a hospital tank (1 gallon) with some malachite green (all I had on hand).
<Almost never a good idea to medicate with whatever's handy. Better to delay treatment, but choose the right drug for a clearly identified disease.>
The next day I switched to using SeaChem's Cupramine because I was told that would be more effective for velvet.
He has a bubbler in the tank to help keep the oxygen levels up, and one small fake plant from his main tank so he has somewhere to hide and can rest on top of it to be near the surface. We have been doing full water changes every 3 days to try and keep the ammonia under control since we can't fit a filter in his hospital tank. His tank temperature has been
maintained between 23-24C since he was placed in the hospital tank.
<Possibly a little warmer would be better, I'd say 25C/77F is about optimal for farmed Bettas.>
So he has now been in the Cupramine maintaining levels between 0.15-0.25 for 9 days (we started at 0.15 to try and get him use to it while still being effective). On day 2 of the copper treatment he took a turn for the worst. In a last ditch effort I added API general fungus cure that has malachite green and Acriflavine. This helped a lot. He showed steady
improvement for 5 days.
Then yesterday he seemed mildly sluggish when I went to feed him in the morning and by last night he had gone down hill again. He was laying on his side struggling to eat, seemed disoriented and was hiding from me. We did a full tank change and re-dosed just the copper thinking maybe having too many medications was causing stress to him.
This morning he would not eat, still on his side (although swimming around a little bit), when he comes to the surface he seems disoriented. His breathing is not labored at least. I don't see any more signs of velvet on him but it's hard to tell because he is hiding too much for me to get a good look. I am worried his symptoms are the effect of the copper exposure and not the velvet. I want to remove him from the copper but everything I have read says I need to treat for velvet for 14 days or it can come back with a vengeance. Do you have any advice on what I should do for the little
guy? I feel like we got so close in curing him and now are watching him slip away again.
<Understood. It's tricky this, because Velvet can cause problems for fish, and untreated can kill them. It's also more resistant to the old salt/heat method that works so well with Whitespot. Not that salt/heat doesn't work, it often does; but sometimes it fails, particularly if the infection is severe or the fish is, for some reason, so weak its immune system can't be
relied upon. There are good anti-Velvet medications out there. Cupramine is one of them, but like all copper-based medication it's important not to overdose. For example, you need to be cautious about estimating how big the volume of water is you're treating. A 10 gallon tank for example rarely contains 10 gallons, and by the time you include rocks, sand, etc., it's more like 8 gallons, if that. It's a really good idea to count the buckets of water added to your tank when you first set it up, so in the future you know exactly how much water it contains. On top of that, some materials will absorb copper (such as corals and limestone rocks) and these need to be removed from the tank during medication so they don't release that copper back into the water later on. Using a copper test kit is a really good idea, as is the use of copper-removing chemical media when the medication has run its course. Personally, I prefer medications without copper, such as eSHa EXIT. Given where you are, I'd be doing large (25-50%) daily water changes before adding the daily dose of Cupramine, and when the course of medications is done, I'd wait at least a week before starting the medication over, should the Velvet come back. Make sense?>
Sorry for the long story.
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Betta velvet with possible copper poisoning      12/17/16

Thank you I very much appreciate the reply.
In my haste I forgot to mention some information I'm afraid. I have been measuring out the volume of what goes into the tank, not relying on what the tank says it is. I also have been doing daily tests for the copper levels.
I panicked after emailing you and I did a partial water change that diluted his copper levels back to 0.15ppm. A few hours after, I checked on him and he actually came to see me without coaxing and ate some pellet food. I could tell he wanted to eat more but he seemed to become disoriented and tired rather quickly. He is still resting on his side, although seems able to right himself more easily now. He moves resting spots every 5-10 minutes.
He has some minor discolouration (light brown spots on a blue Betta) on his head in two spots that appeared a week ago but doesn't seem to have grown.
I thought it might be from the velvet but now I wonder if it's from the copper.
<Possibly. Really hard to say.>
So I have two questions now. In your opinion should I remove him from the copper medication completely given that I saw improvement after reducing the levels? Or is this a bad idea given that we are only on day 9 of treatment?
<Very tricky this. My gut reaction is to finish the course of medication.
Seachem maintain that Cupramine -- used as directed -- is safe with Bettas, and I can't think of any particular reason they should be more sensitive than other 'bread and butter' tropical fish. For sure loaches and some catfish are more sensitive to copper, but labyrinth fish are generally regarded as being no more sensitive than the usual community fish. So, I'd just be very careful about dosing, I'd do water changes each day before adding more, and I'd use a copper-absorbing chemical media afterward the full course if at all practical (failing that, a series of 25-50% water changes each day across a few days should dilute any remaining copper substantially). Some aquarists get adequate results from Cupramine at half the stated dose, but the problem here is that Velvet is very resistant to copper, and my feeling is that this would be less successful than treating Whitespot with half doses. With all of this said, if the Velvet seems gone by now, and there's no evidence of further "flashing" or gill irritation, stopping now might be okay. The problem is that it's hard to be 100% sure the Velvet has gone, even if there's no flashing, and you might have to run a whole other course of medications a few days or weeks from now. >
If so I would place him in a salt and heat bath tank for the next few weeks to observe.
<Salt/heat isn't entirely reliable with Velvet, so approach with caution, and do keep a close eye on the fish.>
My other question is. Assuming he makes it, is there anything preventative that I can do in my aquarium (5 gallon with heater and filter) to prevent velvet from coming back again? I don't even know how it started in the first place. All my readings were good. No ammonia, no nitrite, 5 nitrate, and stable temperature of 24c (I am trying to get it up but my apartment is very cold and the heater claims it is for a 10 gallon tank so I don't understand why I can't get to 25c at least).
<Once Velvet is eliminated, using salt/heat or copper, that's it. Gone.
Forever. It'll only get back in via new fish, or else via some other wet object carried from an infected tank, such as net, ornament or even plants.
So quarantining is the name of the game here!>
I really do appreciate your response and your help. I thought I was doing everything right for my fish and I feel very guilty that he is sick. So the reassurance that I am at least getting some things right is good to hear.
Best regards, Kathryn.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Update on Betta Fish with velvet       12/22/16

Hello Neal/ wwm crew,
I wrote you last week about my Betta fish who was suffering from velvet and possible copper poisoning. I just wanted to give you an update and ask another question.
<Fire away.>
To quickly recap we were treating the Betta with Seachem's Cupramine. The directions said to maintain a does between 0.15-0.2 ppm for 10-14 days.
However, my Betta seemed to be struggling with the copper, as the velvet seemed to disappear the fish appeared to get sicker. In the end we managed to keep him in the treatment for 12 days before we removed him from the copper completely due to worsening condition. We placed him in a tank with API Fungus Cure which has Acriflavine and Malachite Green.
Removal from the Copper had a positive effect, he started eating again and appeared to be in less distress. After two days though he still wasn't acting "cured". His fins are no longer clamped, his normal coloring has returned and he is not flashing at all. However, he had labored breathing after he swam around for longer than 15 seconds at a time. Once he rested for a good few minutes his breathing would be normal again and he would be happy to swim some more.
<Bettas don't rely on their gills for oxygen, and will suffocate if they can't breathe air. If 'forced' to use their gills more than normal, Bettas will appear stressed, more so if their gills are damaged.>
Given that he had velvet and it attacks the gills, I really felt that his tired state may have been due to oxygenation problems.
<Possibly. In any event, gill tissue does grow back eventually.>
He already had a bubbler going in his tank but we upgraded it to a much better one. While I was worried about dosing too many medications I still decided to add Methylene blue to his water since I know it can help oxygenate the blood.
<I don't know about this at all! By definition, adding anything soluble to water displaces oxygen, even salt, and on top of that, medications all have some 'killing' ability or they wouldn't be used. If you're killing pathogens (germs) then decay will absorb oxygen from the water. But in any event, Methylene Blue is a dye that happens to fill fungi and some other
microbes, including Whitespot and Velvet, though neither of these particularly reliably. It has been used in blood transfusions to ensure the haemoglobin stays in its normal oxygen-carrying state, though toxicity worries have led to its phasing out, at least in the UK. It may have some medical uses along the same lines. A medic will certainly be able to tell you more about this than me! But for maximising the oxygen-carrying capacity of fish blood? Seems unlikely.>
The difference has been excellent. He is doing much better at getting his food on the first try, and seems to have a fair bit more energy. He is interested in what is going on outside his tank and comes out to greet me every time I go by. However, the labored breathing after swimming is still present, he can now swim for about a minute at a time but then he needs to rest for 30 seconds.
All this being said I am guessing that his gills are still damaged and without the Methylene blue he would return to a state of not having enough oxygen.
<Not convinced, but glad the results are positive. "Post hoc, ergo propter hoc" is not always reliable; indeed, it almost never is! I'd explain the situation as this: the copper largely killed off the mobile, infective stages of the Velvet from the tank. The generation of Velvet parasites on your fish finished their life cycle and died. Without mobile phases to
re-infect your fish, the infection ended. But the gill tissue remains damaged (this is, fundamentally, why Whitespot and Velvet kill fish) and your Betta is having to manage with less oxygen from the water. It can breathe air of course, so isn't in imminent danger, but under such conditions will be more lethargic than normal. It will take some days, perhaps weeks for the gill filaments to re-grow. The Methylene blue will be working as an anti-fungal agent, inhibiting further damage to the gills by keeping the lesions clean. It's a mild medication, used even with fish eggs and fry, with only very rare toxic effects on fish, so you should be fine continuing with it for some days yet. I wouldn't bother after a week
though. The gills should have stopped bleeding or decaying by then, and any infection is unlikely by this point.>
I've searched as best I could but I haven't found any information about if Betta's are able to regenerate gill tissue once it has been damaged. Do you know if it is possible that he could still make a full (of close to full) recovery?
<He should do.>
My other question is about velvet itself, we will add the last does of API general fungus cure tomorrow and then allow the level of medication to decrease through our daily water changes. At that point we will be on day 16 of treating the fish for velvet in either Copper or the API general fungus cure. Given the continued improvement of the fish and the lack of any velvet symptoms, is this likely long enough to have eradicated velvet on the fish?
<It may be. Velvet, like Whitespot, doesn't 'stay' on a fish. There are multiple cycles of infection and re-infection before the host fish dies (in the wild, they may even have low infections for years at a time). So some mobile phases get into the fish, burrow into the gills, form cysts, and within a few days reach the end of their life cycle, burst, spread another generation of mobile phases into the water, then die. Some of those mobile cells get into the fish, form new cysts, mature, burst, and die. And so on, many many times. What medication does is kill all the mobile phases
produced by the current generation living in your fish, so when they die, nothing replaces them. Individual cysts might only live a couple days, but we treat for a week or so because there may be cysts of different ages, so what we want to do is kill of all the mobile phases produced by all the cysts across a week. That means there'll be no reproducing cysts in your fish, and no mobile cells to re-infect your fish, and the cycle is broken.
Note that you can't actually kill the cysts in your fish. They're impossible to get at.>
Are there any problems to then continue treating him in Methylene blue for the next week to help keep him oxygenated while he regrows any lost tissue?
<I would do precisely this; see above.>
I need to keep him in his hospital tank for a few more weeks anyways as I need to get a fishless cycle going in his main-tank before sending him home again.
I apologize for the length of this, my questions always seem to require more explanation than I originally thought. I do very much appreciate the help though!
Happy Holidays,
<And a Merry Christmas to you and your Betta! Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Bloated, Epsom Salt Not Working HELP       2/18/16
You continue to be the best resource for me over the years regarding everything fish! I searched the archives on Betta Swim Bladder and Constipation and read and read but cannot find anything that says what to do after Epsom Salt baths....
I rescued a Betta from a local Pet Co. about 4 months ago. "Charlie" is housed in a 2gallon tank at work with a heater and filtration and has been a happy boy, making weekly bubble nests, active, and eating like a pig!
Went on vacation and came home to a bloated Betta (looked to me like swim bladder due to constipation?)
<Mmm; no....>
Parameters of water at that time were bizarre (PH was in low 6 range, there was Ammonia and Nitrates were high).
<.... toxic>

I did a 50% water change and fasted him 4 days and tried a blanched frozen pea. He did not bite.
I took Charlie home to watch him. Put him in a gallon bowl with a heater and fasted him again and tried pea, and no bite.
Began Epsom Salt baths once a day 1 TBS in gallon of water for 15-20 minutes and no relief.
Fed him a blood worm - nothing.
Have fasted him again 3 days but this little guy will not "go". He is as happy as can be, swimming properly just BLOATED.
<Try either live or frozen/defrosted Daphnia or Artemia (Brine Shrimp). Good laxatives>
Water is 0 nitrates, PH 7.4, 0 Nitrites 0 Ammonia and the temp is 78. I am doing water changes every other day because this bowl is tiny (1 gallon).
Attached are two photos I took today.
Cori Durkee
<Really; just time going by at this point. This fish has been "challenged" by poor water quality... a few weeks going by should see it improving. Bob Fenner>
Fwd: Betta Bloated, Epsom Salt Not Working HELP       2/18/16

Photos were duplicate, my apologies. Attached are correct photos
<Same resp. BobF>

Sick Betta      9/18/15
Hello Crew!
<Hello Gabby>
First of all, I would just love to thank you for your wonderful site, which has more than once saved the lives of my fish. Your work is amazing. I can only hope to one day know enough about fish to be able to spread the love.
<Ahh; I hope for this as well>
I am writing to you because I am fortunate enough to work in a pet store, and I recently exchanged a Betta I'd owned for several months for a beautiful white-and-purple delta tail. My Betta had grown large and healthy with me after I healed him of fin rot (thank you, salt dips), he was enormous compared to the other Bettas and was in tip top shape, always eating and not easily rattled.
This new fish, however, has something the matter with him. He seems active enough, but red spots have begun to appear on his head and the top of his body, and he won't touch food (he'll follow my hand when I drop it in, but won't eat it). He will sometimes bend his tail sideways and swim in a circle, and small round holes have appeared near the edges of his fins which become ragged as the holes spread. Salt dips do not appear to have helped much. He seems alert and active, but I'm concerned--I don't want to lose him, and he is so gorgeous, I don't want him to lose any more fin!
<Mmm; the "red spots" worry me.... What could this be? Parasitic perhaps; bacterial?>

He is in a 2.5 gallon tank which I clean daily, in the company of two small Cryptocorynes and some white silica sand. He has no heater, but since I live in Cancun, he sure doesn't need one.
<I would add for the duration of treatment here>
Other than at the holes, his fins appear intact, his colors are bright and when he isn't doing his weird spinning act, he swims normally, exploring the tank. I am going to add more plants soon.
<I would leave off w/ live plants here for the while>
What can I do? I only have salt, malachite green, Methylene blue, and Furan-2 capsules, all of which were already tried in combination when the red spots first appeared (for every liter I added 1 drop of malachite green, 4 drops of Methylene blue and half a teaspoon of aquarium salt; then I took a Furan-2 capsule, broke it open and made a paste with the powder which I then rubbed on the red spots. I put a drop of the paste into his water and mixed that in too. It didn't appear to do anything for him.) Since then, I've given him a daily 5-minute salt dip in a liter of water with a teaspoon of aquarium or non-iodized table salt dissolved in it; even though it doesn't appear to be doing anything, at least the fin rot seems to be progressing very slowly.
What can I do? Please, I don't want to lose him :( I've been told to try Sulfast 3, but can I use it in conjunction with Furan-2? Should I give that to him again? Why won't he eat? (I just brought him home two days ago; he was at the pet store where I work.) Our water here is quite hard, but I keep it clean, and my other Betta lived without a problem.
<I would treat w/ a dose (single) of BOTH Metronidazole and Praziquantel (administered to the water as the fish is not eating; while raising the temperature of the water to the mid-80's F>
Thank you in advance for your reply! :)
<Welcome; thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Sick Betta      9/18/15

Thanks so much Mr. Fenner!
<Welcome Gabby>
I just have a couple more questions your answer raised in my mind... Those medicines you mentioned... The vet here has them in injectable form for dogs and cats, or in suspension. There's also General Cure which has Metronidazole, should I use that?
<Yes to the powder form/s; not injectable>
Or how much is a dose?
<Please search, read on WWM Re.... need to dilute if treating in small volume/s>
My tank is 10L, but to treat him I'd move him back to the LFS where I work. How long should
I keep him at eighty degrees?
<Mid-80's... for the duration... likely a week or two>
Thank you once more! You guys are awesome!!!
<Certainly welcome. BobF>
Re: Sick Betta      9/18/15

Hello again, Mr. Fenner! :)
<Ms. Reyez>
I was only able to find Metronidazole, in 500mg tablets (for people), or in General Cure; but Praziquantel remains elusive. Can I use the tablets?
<Yes; crush up with two spoons; to hasten dissolving>
Will it work without Praziquantel?
<The Prazi is for worm diseases of many types.... works independently of the Metro (which is for Protozoans, some bacteria). Really need both>
Only the vet seems to have that, and she has it in injectable form or in suspension.
<Not the same>
The Betta's eyes now look swollen and strange. I don't wanna lose him :(
<See WWM re adding a bit of Epsom Salt>
Sorry for the bunch of questions. I've never treated a fish before with anything not meant for fish, and I'm scared to kill him :(
<No worries>
Thank you again!
<Welcome. B>

Suspected Betta Constipation         6/1/15
I suspect that our Betta is suffering from constipation. He stopped eating Thursday evening and we noticed Friday morning that he was bloated. He also has a string of poop hanging from him. We fasted him for 2 days and tried to feed him daphnia

today which he didn't eat. I figured that I would try to fast him a couple more days and try to feed him daphnia again. He also isn't as active as he normally is. The water parameters are ammonia 0, nitrites 0 and nitrates 10. The temperature is at 81.
I know that you recommend putting Epsom salt directly into the tank but at what point should you do this?
<I would do this now>
Also, will the Epsom salt hurt any of the other inhabitants in the tank?
<Too much can harm snails, plants...>

He lives in a filtered, heated 15 gallon tank with ember tetras, red cherry shrimp and Malaysian trumpet snails. I am concerned about the Epsom salt harming the cherry shrimp who are breeding well and I don't want to do anything to harm them.
<I'd treat minimally for now (1 level tsp. for five gallons); or move the Betta to treat separately elsewhere, or use the Epsom in a submerged bath for five minutes>
If I can add the Epsom salt directly to the tank, how long do I keep the Epsom salt in the tank before I do a water change and how large of a water change do I need to do to remove the Epsom salt from the tank once treatment is over?
<Regular water changing... a quarter or so per week, will serially dilute over time... at low concentration, this will be fine>
If I can't add the Epsom salt directly to the tank, do you recommend an Epsom salt bath for the Betta?
<Yes... >
I have some pictures attached of our Betta.
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Suspected Betta Constipation      6/2/15
I hope it is okay if I ask another question.
Last night, our Betta took a turn for the worst. He started to lay at the bottom of his tank, only coming up for air and was breathing heavy. We slowly started to put some Epsom salt in the tank to watch to see how it may effect the inhabitants.
So far, we have put in a teaspoon and according to you should put in more.
<Yes; see WWM, our prev. corr.>
My question is, am I still looking at a case of constipation or something else?
<Can't tell... could be bacterial; other...>

He doesn't seem to be getting any bigger but him becoming lethargic is concerning to me. Any suggestions on what we should do?
<As you are doing really. I would NOT "try" adding medicines in a Hodge podge fashion. Much more likely to do harm than good. I urge patience. Oh, and may be trying a bit of live (or barring this frozen/defrosted) brine shrimp. Bob Fenner>

Re: Suspected Betta Constipation      6/6/2015
Good morning. I was hoping I can ask a follow up on our Betta and his suspected constipation.
We finished putting in a total of 3 teaspoons of Epsom salt in his 15 gallon tank by Monday evening.
When we got up on
Tuesday morning, our Betta was in his floating log (where he usually sleeps) instead of laying on the bottom of the tank and then started to make a bubble nest on Tuesday in his log.
(I know this doesn't mean happiness but it is the first nest he has made so it made us feel better.)
I even got him to eat some daphnia on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday morning he would still be in his log but would go back down to the bottom of the tank after the tank's light goes on. Since he seems to have bad eyesight, he needs to be in a position were he needs to see any food to eat it. Since he was in his log yesterday morning, I tried to feed him some more daphnia but he wasn't interested and went back to the bottom of the tank. Since he doesn't seem to be improving since Tuesday, we added another teaspoon of Epsom salt to his tank Wednesday evening.. He is still bloated but doesn't seem to be getting any bigger. But I also can't tell if he is getting any smaller. On Tuesday, I saw another string of poop from him but nothing since then. How long can a Betta be constipated?
Does this seem normal?
<Mmm; no; not w/in my def.>
Should we just continue doing what we are doing?
<Yes; but I'd add a 50% water change every week (w/ MgSO4 replacement) to this routine... vacuuming the gravel in the process>
He still doesn't seem as bad as he did Sunday evening but he also doesn't seem as good as he did on Tuesday.
<Thank you for this report. Patience! Bob Fenner>

Betta with one bulging eye for almost 2 months now... too many med.s, not enough rdg. on WWM     1/10/15
I pray this finds you well and in good spirits J First, I would like to say thank you for what you are doing for desperate animal/fish lovers like myself. Your time, energy, effort, feedback, and consideration is greatly appreciated!!
<Ah, welcome>
I have a male Betta named "Felix". I have owned him for approximately 6 months now. He is a blue" long" finned Betta, called a Veil Tail (VT). He seemed pretty healthy up until about 2 months ago. Something apparently went wrong in my 5 gallon Hex tank. He was housed with 3 peppered Corydoras catfish. Felix is totally non-aggressive and everybody got along quite well!! Unfortunately, something came upon all the fish and the "Mama" Corydoras ended up dying. Probably because I did the "worst thing to do" from what I've been told by pet stores, which was changing 100% of the water (because I panicked that something in the water was really bad).
<Yikes; best to have some pre-made, stored water on hand... to make such in anticipation of partial, weekly change outs>

So, after much research and numerous trips to the LFS, testing water again and again and again, only for them to tell me the only thing they noticed about my water quality is that my PH was a little low, but not enough to harm (kill) any fish!! Anyways, after that episode, Felix and my 2 remaining catfish seemed to be just fine! Then a few days later, Felix had one bulging eye.
also seemed to start fading in color around his head and gills (almost a brown head & greenish gill color. I think at that time I even noticed a few red patches on his head. So, now we are a few more trips to the LFS and
many hours on the internet, I ended up treating the whole tank with Mardel's Maracyn (Ethromyacin) for the recommended time frame, actually 2 days beyond that. without any symptoms subsiding. So I stopped that treatment. Let me tell you, in every other manor..Felix and my 2 remaining catfish "Moe & Minnie" seemed to be just fine and healthy!
Then about 2 weeks later, I ended up getting a 16 gallon tank and transferring all fish to new tank. Everything seemed to be carrying on the same way..and of course I truly do believe the fish were so much happier with all the extra room and plants, etc...even a new piece of Malaysian Driftwood. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that upon recommendation, I started adding Aquarium Salt shortly after the "low PH"
<.... won't change the pH>
 diagnosis & bulging eye.
<Mmm; well; not (NaCl) necessary. I would have you read (on WWM) re the one time use of Epsom (MgSO4)>
Then about 2 more weeks into this, Felix's external symptoms seemed to remain the same, with a bulging right eye, faded head color, greenish gill area, and red patches on head. Yet, the catfish seemed to be just fine.
So, I then decided to treat the tank with "Tetracycline", based upon a LFS's recommendation.
<Stop.... all this random medicating doesn't help>
I did the full treatment cycle, actually I think I lengthened the treatment by a day or so, and yet still no improvement,
although.. nor regressing!
Then about a week or so went by and I actually come to find out that Aquarium Salt isn't really good for my scaleless fish (Corydoras), so I stopped adding the aquarium salt when doing my partial water changes.
Also, let me remind you..since the "initial episode", I bought a Master Test Kit to constantly check my water parameters. So I have been constantly aware of same, along with water temps, etc. Anyways, a couple days after I stopped adding Aquarium Salt to my water..Felix's eye got a little more swollen.
This made me think that the AS was just keeping whatever bacterial/fungal/parasitic infection at "bay"! Although, I am totally far from an expert. So who knows??
<I do; the Epsom Salt>
Now, he did get spooked once sometime before this secondary swelling..so maybe this was an eye injury from the spooked
darting across the tank, or perhaps...this has ALWAYS been an eye injury from the get go????
So, once again, I reacted with transferring Felix to a hospital tank and treating him with Epsom Salts for a couple days to reduce the swelling, being afraid of his eye popping!
<Won't; and don't need to move the fish; treat all in place>
After the 2nd day, it seemed to go down perhaps a tiny tiny amount (although my husband didn't think so), but certainly not enough to convince me this was the treatment to keep pursuing.
With that being said, I finally decided to treat with an all inclusive treatment called Jungle "Lifeguard"
concurrently with ES, based upon internet recommendations. However, after 3 days of treating and following
the directions with water changes, etc...nothing seemed to be getting better, let alone, his swollen eye changed in shape, and it seemed his "red patches" became more severe, almost believing they are like "burns"!! So, I stopped this treatment immediately, especially since they use Chlorine!
Now, Felix is still in his hospital tank just being treated with AS, as I read not to mix ES with AS. It has been 2 days since we removed medications and his eye is still bulging, gills still look kinda light greenish, head still has red patches, but more now (even one right under his swollen eye).
As I said before, otherwise, I believe Felix acts completely healthy!!
BTW, my other fish (2 Corydoras) are in the main tank not being treated and they
also still seem completely healthy! So what is the deal???
<As you've stated; the initial chemical insult, consequent mis-additions of med.s, salt>
PLEASE HELP!!! I don't know what else to do???
<... just the Epsom, and possibly elevated temp... into the low 80's F>
Most importantly, how can I get the swelling to dissipate from his eye?? I don't want him to lose an
eye!!! Also, how can I get those red patches to disappear??- Is this possibly from ammonia burn???
<... poss. The antibiotics may well have depressed nitrification>
As far as I know the highest level the ammonia was ever at, was .50..is this enough to cause burns??
How can I get his gills to come back to color (not that greenish color)??
<Just good care... water quality, nutrition... and time going by>
I'm honestly just at wits end, cause I don't know what else to do for my friendly Felix?? I was thinking of returning him to an ES treatment for a few days, to hopefully reduce the swelling. It was also recommended to me to use this "Betta Revive",
<Stop... you're poisoning this fish; the system>
but because I have already treated him with 3 other types of medicines/chemicals, I am hesitant on giving him another, especially if I don't have too, because this stuff has that Methylene Blue & Malachite Green, which I read was harmful to my Felix, but then again, most treatments are probably! Any information or suggestions you have on anything????
<You can simply read our input on WWM re Betta splendens; sans EMO; or download or buy my small Betta Success book on Amazon>
I appreciate whatever direction you can provide me with. I really don't know what else to do..if anything?? I want to return him to his 16 gallon tank with his buddy catfish J Thank you so much for your time and consideration!
I greatly appreciate it!!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>


Strange gunk on Betta     11/26/14
I came home from school for Thanksgiving break. I went in to see my Betta male that I left home. I noticed he wasn't looking very well. He was sitting on the ground and his color looked faded. I checked his water temperature and the thermometer said it was 68 degrees and I also checked the under-gravel filter and it was filthy.
<Aquarium much too cold. Turn the heater up (or heaven forbid, "on" if someone has switched it off in your absence). As you hopefully know, Bettas are tropical fish, any anyone who tells you they can survive at room temperature is either (a) misinforming you or (b) living in the tropics where room temperature is tropical! Anything below 25 C/77 F is bad for Bettas, and below, say, 22 C/72 F quickly becomes lethal. I'm only stressing this point for the benefit of others reading this... you'd be surprised (saddened) how many people believe they don't need to provide their Betta with a heater, instead spouting out such nonsense as "this angle poise light over the top warms it up" or "it's bred to live in an unheated tank" or some such rubbish. Your Betta is almost certainly getting sick because of lack of heat. Fish are ectotherms, meaning the heat energy they need for normal metabolic processes comes from their environment (not internally, as it is with mammals and birds). If they're too cold, chemical reactions slow down below the necessary (safe) rate, and things like digestion and immune response stop working properly. Bacteria in the water that would normally be fended off by their immune system can run amok if the immune system is running at half speed, and the result is, of course, a sick fish. Finrot and Fungus are two classic responses to tropical fish being kept too cold, as are Whitespot infections.>
I did a 75% water change and cleaned the filter. I let him float in the new water for 20 minutes and then let him back in it. I then noticed he has some "gunk" on his left fin. I don't want to go out and buy a lot of chemicals if it isn't very serious and that could harm him even more.
<Indeed, that's a concern, but at the same time, medicines shouldn't be seen as an expense that can be avoided. In this situation though increasing water temperature and ensuring good water quality (as always, zero ammonia and zero nitrite) should do the trick, and if the fin damage/infection doesn't get worse, it should heal up in time. Using a reliable Finrot medication (Melafix wouldn't be my first choice here, despite its low cost and wide sale, but a proper antibiotic instead) is definitely worthwhile though. As ever, remove carbon from the filter during use otherwise the medicine probably won't work.>
I've had him for a year. I'm wondering if this is normal for older Betta fish or of it could be something serious.
<In an aquarium a Betta should live 2-3 years after purchase without too much trouble if given decent care. If the aquarium heater was turned down low, it may well be that over summer his water temperature was adequate, if not ideal, but now it's colder, he's really feeling the chill. Review, and act accordingly.>
I have a picture of it. I also noticed some black spots on his fin that i never noticed before. Are they normal or should i be concerned.
<Any dramatic changes in a fish are cause for concern, especially when linked to obviously bad environmental stress (such as lack of heat). Let me also direct you to Bob Fenner's book on keeping Bettas, here:
For under $10 (or $6 on Kindle!) you get pretty much everything you need to know about Bettas in one place. Since Bettas are so widely kept, we know everything that's needed to keep them healthy. Heat, filtration, a decent sized aquarium (I'd argue at least 4-5 gallons, anything less being pretty pointless) and an appropriate diet. Read, understand, learn and reflect.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Strange gunk on Betta     11/26/14
Thanks Neal. I got him a heater and he does seem happier. i plan on changing up his diet to more then pellets for a more happier Betta
<Most welcome and glad he's a better Betta (which is alliterative in British English!). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Strange gunk on Betta    11/28/14
Hi Neal. I'm happy to report that Ash (my Betta) is doing much better. He is happy in his 80 degree water and is eating and swimming around. I did buy the Melafix and put it in the tank and it is helping with the gunk on his fin (still not sure what it is).
<Do be careful with Melafix. It promises a lot, but as I've said many times on WWM, it doesn't always deliver. Because it's cheap, it's popular, but it isn't much beyond a half-decent preventative. Once fish actually get sick, I'm not convinced it cures anything with any certainty. Do remember fish, like humans, heal by themselves in many cases, where infection is only slight. So adding Melafix and seeing your fish get better doesn't mean Melafix cured the fish. In fact I'd place money on the heat being the helpful factor here.>
The spots I realized have been there the whole time (looked back at old photos and they were on his dorsal fin then to). I also got him some bloodworms as a treat and he loves them. Thanks for all your help.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Betta w/ worm?     6/6/13
Hello, I'm Donetta and I'm having an issue with my Betta Ruby.  He has a short white stringy looking thing hanging from his Pelvic fin.  I thought it was something insignificant and it's been there for a while.  However it appears to be getting longer.   I was reading around on your site and others and it appears it may be an anchor worm.
<Might be; can't make it out in your pic>
He's behaving normally with good appetite.  However he's currently being treated  for Finrot with Kanaplex.  Previously, I treated him in a QT tank with salt and his fins healed 90% and I put him back in the 10 gal and he got sick again.  I should have left him longer, but he was getting very depressed in the small 1.5 gal.
Tomorrow is his last dose of Kanaplex.  It appears the rot has stopped, but the fins are not looking better.  I emailed previously and Neale helped me out.
Ruby is currently in his 10 gallon planted tank.  Not sure what I should do about this.
<Treat for it. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thank you

Re: Betta w/ worm?      6/8/13
Thanks for replying!  I read the article regarding the worms on your site. 
It was a lot of different information.  On my fish now I believe I see two potential worms. 
<I do too>
When I do my water change on Sunday I'm going to net him and inspect closely to make sure it is in fact worms.  Should these worms wiggle?
 What I see on him is still looking.  I want to prepare my self to treat him if I need to.
From what I gather people usually take the worms out with tweezers.
<The adult forms, embedded in their fish hosts, yes... IF the hosts are large enough; can sustain the damage, trauma. I don't think this is the case here. Put another way, I would NOT tweezer this fish>
 Is this a must?
<It is NOT a must>
  If I do this do I still need to put medicine in the tank?
<Yes; you need foremost to kill the intermediate forms (non-adults) NOT on the Betta>
  We have API general cure and Parasite Clear here.  Is it best to take him out of his planted tank?
<Not likely; No. I would treat the system, the fish in place>>
 I read that Parasite clear won't hurt your biological cycle.  If I remove him to QT tank do I still need to treat the main tank?
  Also it says follow with bacterial meds.  Is this just to prevent infection?
 If so can I just dab with Neosporin or one dose of Betta fix?
  Or if he's in QT put in salt water for a certain number of days?
<Better to utilize water soluble antibiotics... Maracyn I and II are good choices here>
Like I mentioned he just finished Kanaplex tx for fin rot, I'd rather be least intrusive as possible.  Also can parasites cause fin rot?
<Yes; can easily be related>
 I've been trying to figure out that for a while.  I know they say dirty water, but I believe I fixed that problem, but fins still not better.
Thanks so much!
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: Betta w/ worm?     6/9/13

Thanks again for taking the time to help me out!  I'm nervous about the process.   We do have Maracyn 1&2 here.  I'm nervous because I read it can harm your beneficial bacteria,
<Mmm, usually not nitrifiers if this is your concern>
 but sounds like I got to get the other worms out the system.  Do you mean to treat Maracyn 1&2 at the same time or one after the other? 
<Use them after treating for the crustaceans, worms>
These meds won't kill my plants? 
<... read on the Net re the active ingredients in what you intend to employ. The Mardel products will not>
If my cycle crashes what should I do? 
<See WWM re...>
Should I be checking ammonia levels daily too?
<If so concerned>
  Usually what we do is add Prime daily when we're concerned about Ammonia,
<Not a good idea...>
but I know that Prime will detox my tank of heavy metals i.e.. the micro nutrients in my tank.  Have any suggestion on this?  I read about some type of ammonia absorber chips as well, not exactly sure how they work though. 
So at the end of this treatment the worms on his body should fall off?
<Likely they will cycle off. B>
Thank you
Re: Betta w/ worm?     6/9/13

Hello again I want to be sure I'm understanding correctly.  From the prior response I thought it was suggested to treat the worms with Maracyn 1&2. 
Is this correct?
<.... no>
 Maracyn 1 is for the parasites  and Maracyn 2 is to prevent a bacterial infection?
Re: Betta w/ worm?     6/9/13

<Search WWM re the original email/link below<<At top here>>
It was suggested here to not uses tweezers on the fish and to use medications instead.  I mentioned that we have API general cure and Jungle Fungus Cure however Maracyn 1&2 was recommended.  If that is not a good choice, do you know of an alternate?  Or have another suggestion perhaps?
Thank you
Re: Betta w/ worm? Lernaea, other possibilities      6/12/13

Hi again, ok I looked at the link and saw the meds under choose your weapon.  I'm hesitant to treat with the meds because I just don't feel 100% it's anchor worms
<Ahh! Good that you are cautious. I want to make known to you that I have seen Lernaea on Betta splendens... it's very hard to make out until the adults are "sporting" egg cases and are quite large. Ouch! And the host quite debilitated. This situation is one where treating on suspicion is warranted in my opinion>
even though he has this stiff thing hanging off him along with another white thing underneath his body.  Is it possible to have anchor worms without significant behavior changes?
<Initially, yes... As the numbers and size of parasites increases, the hosts become more lethargic, hanging out at the bottom>
 He does have the fin rot, but he is swimming around normally.  He's not scratching himself or lethargic.  He's eating normally etc.
<Please do a bit more, larger searching, reading... I would treat for both crustacean and worm parasites if this were a commercial setting. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta w/ worm? Lernaea and real worm med.s      6/13/13

Hi Bob, I so appreciate your help on this!  It turns out I looked into Planaria treatment for my tank a while back and I purchased Fenbendazole under the brand name Panacur.  I still have the meds.  Maybe you know of this one, this is a general de-wormer and I know that it also treats Camallanus worms.
<Ah yes; am very familiar>
 Now that you mention it, my fish has that white thing under his body behind his ventral fins.  Maybe it's a worm sticking out his vent.   Is this the type of worm treatment you were thinking of? 
<Indeed it is; yes>
Also, now that I will treat with the anti-parasite meds and dewormer how do you dose?
<There are a few approaches... but these compounds can be used at the same time>
  Do you complete one treatment and wait a while to do the next or just right after each other?  Maybe a water change in between?  Which meds should I treat first?  I wouldn't think at the same time right?  After the crustacean treatment would I still need to do a bacterial treatment?
<Possibly; but doubtful. Most bacterial (and fungal) issues w/ aquatic life we keep are due to issues w/ the environment, and curable by fixing same>
 For this treatment can you just do something mild like MelaFix?
<No; not worthy>
 I know Betta People usually don't like that med, but I can do 20% dosing. 
I just busted my cycle with the Kanaplex  when I was treating the fin rot or maybe add 1 tsp salt or just skip the bacterial?
<I'd skip. B>
Re: Betta w/ worm? Now... suspected Ich overtreatment      6/16/13

Hi Bob, unfortunately I have another development.  I got the meds for the anchor worms(API general cure) and the de-wormer and was preparing to dose today when I could be home and observe my fish. 
Unfortunately yesterday I observed white looking patches under and around his mouth.  I thought it could be Ick, but it's not just tiny dots, but patches as well.  Then I read that Ick are cyst so I thought it could be Ick.
<Not likely>
  To me it looks like herpie patches.  Anyway, I had Quick cure( formalin/ malachite green)
<Not a good idea. Too toxic>

 on hand, so I added that on the way out the door.  When I got home the water looked normal and the blue was all gone.  I added another dose this morning and when I got home the water was the normal color again.  I don't have carbon in the filter only regular filter sponges.  I read your article on Ick and it suggested to remove all filters including plants.  Maybe the plants are absorbing the medication.
<Yes; and it's poisoning them>

 My tank is moderately planted and I can't take them out.  Any other suggestions.
<Stop medicating>

This situation is getting more complicated.  Maybe I need to transfer him to a hospital tank and treat the Ick, anchor crustaceans and worms there. 
If I did that I would have to treat the  anchor crustaceans, worms in the main tank too right?  Treat Ick in the main tank?
<Just treat for the worms, Lernaea in place>

This all seems a bit much.  Thanks for the help!
<Don't panic. BobF>

Re: Betta w/ worm?  6/19/2013
So I treated the tank with API general Cure and Panacur/ Fenbendazole.  Soon after I saw a white worm inching down the glass.  Next morning he had a giant poop, probably worms.
He still has white spots on the bottom of his chin.  Last night I raised the temp from 82 to 86, probably shouldn't have raised so much at a time.
<Yes; and don't fret otherwise>
 I didn't add more meds, but was scared about potential ICK.  Now this morning he has while lips. He's a little bit less active too, so I turned up the bubbles.
The tank is an absolute mess.  I have to wait until tomorrow night to do a water change as I have to wait 48 hrs after the API general cure.  Any suggestions?
<Patience. B>
Thank you!

Re: Betta w/ worm?... Hypochondria...  6/23/13
Hi Bob, not sure what I should do now.  As you know I treated with Panacur<e> last Saturday.   I soaked his food with Panacure and added the meds to the tank.  I treated one round of API General cure per directions and completed the water change on Wednesday.   Well the white worm that was protruding from him is back.
<... I don't think this is a worm... but instead is body mucus,
accumulating at this area... need to pull a bit off and look at under a 'scope to be sure>
 In addition he is hanging at the bottom of the tank and going up for a quick breath and down again.  There were several methods on the Internet in dosing Panacure, so I decided to put more in his food today and planned to do another dose tomorrow and again on the 6th and 7th day.
<... not a good idea. You're poisoning, have been poisoning this fish; the system>

 Maybe the one dose wasn't good enough.  This time I plan not to treat the water.  The Panacure in the tank made a complete mess and was heavily at the bottom of the tank for a while.  I've already done two water changes and had to replace some gravel to get it out.  I have to do another water change in the morning too. 
I also mentioned about white spots on the bottom of his face
<Again; this is almost assuredly due to the medication>

 and I increased the temp to 86 degrees.  He is missing scales above his lips now.  I'm thinking that may be a result of him forging around with all the Panacure in the bottom of the tank.  His eyes are also a little cloudy now.
<And this>
After the meds he had a big poop.  Not sure if it came from General cure or Panacure.  Should I do another round of General cure?
<I would add nothing further... period. B>

 I'm starting to worry that he won't make it.  Thanks again.

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>


Baths for freshwater fish?  9/18/06 Hi Bob, Once again fighting tail rot in Betta Terrence. Doing my best to keep the water quality good with frequent small water changes, gravel vacuuming, the tedious process of wicking the dissolved solids off the surface of the water with paper towels, light feeding, etc... He's in a 2.5 gallon heated, filtered tank with 10 watts of fluorescent lighting. As the tail rot has been persistent, I'm thinking of treating him with an antibacterial. <Yes, this is what I would do. Likely... Oh, I see this below> I was wondering if, instead of treating the whole tank, I could give Terrence a bath in the  Nitrofurazone/Furazolidone/potassium dichromate medication that I've used before. Same dosage/concentration as for a full tank treatment? <Yes> (I read up on dips/baths on WWM, but only found info about dips/baths for marine livestock. <Are more useful for marines... as they "drink" their environment, but can be used with good purpose on external complaints of freshwater aquatics> I have heard from other sites of saltwater baths for FW fish... would that be more gentle/any more effective than an antibacterial? <Mmm, not as much here> He has Doc Wellfish's salt in his tank all the time, 1 Tbs/5gal.) If this would be ineffective or a bad idea, I can certainly treat the tank. I have an extra sponge in there that I can pull out and maintain in a Tupperware container to keep some good bacteria going. Just wasn't looking forward to dying the tank green and wiping out my filtration, <Yes... I would use the immersion bath instead here as you state> plus I anticipate the gravel will absorb some of the medication. <You are correct> Thanks for any insight you can give! Rachel in NC, where it's finally cooling down a little <BobF in sunny S. Cal., with a persistent cough/cold!>

Re: Baths for freshwater fish?  9/18/06 Bob, I just did what I realized was the obvious thing to do... put Terrence in the 3/4 gallon Tupperware with a heater and a proportionate amount of medicine.  Planning on doing large, possibly complete, water changes every day or every other day.  So never mind about the bath!  Sorry to bother you.  It seemed like such a brilliant idea at the time! <Is a good idea. BobF>

Betta With Fin Rot? - 05/27/2006 Hi, I'm a reasonably new Betta owner who is slightly addicted to your site. I first wanted to briefly thank you for all the advice I've gleaned off of your logs over the months that I've been reading them. <Thank you very much for your kind words, and for reading the site!> I wrote to ask about other things (besides the terrifying fin rot) that could cause ends of fins to sort of disappear and be left with just a "fringe" on the end. I have been under the suspicion that my Betta has had tail rot every once in a while since I had him, because his tail had parts of it that were thinner than others. But I read around online and it said that that could also be fins "growing back" and I had just moved him (about two/three months ago) from an itty bitty bowl to a cycled three-gallon tank with the environmental specifications that are recommended by various sources I've consulted (ammonia = 0, nitrite = 0, nitrate <20, 77 degrees, PH ok but haven't checked it in a while). Last night I noticed that while he was sleeping, my Betta had sort of gotten "stuck" to the filter in his tank for a while. <Hmm, maybe bad news....  I'd suggest that you consider getting a small filter sponge and cutting a slit in it so you can put it over the filter intake; this will make it less likely for him to get "stuck" again.> I went to bed before he got unstuck, but I know that he sometimes has gotten stuck before and has had no problem swimming away. When I woke up this morning, I went to feed him (I always feed him 4-5 Betta bits and sometimes pieces of pea) about 1/2 of an inch of his tailfin had disintegrated, leaving just a "fringe." <Yikes.> I wondered whether my fish really has fin rot, or whether the filter or some other environmental thing could have hurt him. <If you do see a whitish, maybe fuzzy edge to the damaged parts of the fin, I would suspect bacterial fin rot.  If you do not see this, it may just be from damage from the filter.  Keep your water quality pristine, and get a sponge or something over that filter intake.> My plans for treatment are, as Mr. Fenner tends to recommend, to add salt, raise the temperature, and change the water about 35%. <An ideal plan, I believe.> Would you recommend medication in my case, or do you think that it would be better to leave well enough alone? <Do as you plan to do; I wouldn't medicate just yet.  If after a couple of days the fin is still deteriorating or you see that whitish edge to it still, you might consider medicating with a good broad-spectrum antibiotic.  Hopefully you will not need to do this, though.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Betta With Fin Rot? - II - 05/28/2006 Hi, thank you so much for your speedy reply earlier. <Glad to be of service.> The situation with Napoleon has worsened somewhat, but I'm still not sure it's fin rot. He now has a split up the middle of his tail, all the way (nearly) to his body. But there's still no whitish edge and no fuzziness. I think his swimming might just be causing his already damaged tail to split? <Possibly.  Hopefully the sponge over the filter intake will also reduce the flow of the filter some, so he doesn't have to "work" so much to swim.> Anyway, I was wondering whether you would recommend medication now that his tailfin has worsened, or would you still recommend that I wait a few days? <A day or two, perhaps, and watch it very closely.> I got the sponge for my filter that you suggested earlier and added sea salt, but sometime during the day yesterday my heater broke so I'm returning it and picking up another as soon as someone comes home with a car.  If I were to medicate, I looked around on WWM and I came up with two medications that seemed to be most commonly discussed with regards to fin rot: BettaMax and Maracyn II. Do those sound good?   <BettaMax is a good, easy option to use for small tanks, but unfortunately is not easy to find anymore.  I personally would suggest to look for something containing Kanamycin or Nitrofurazone, if you do decide to medicate.> Thank you so much for your time and help. I really want to try to help Napoleon as much as I can. <Me too!  I'm glad we can help in our little way.> Sincerely,  -Katherine <All the best to you and Napoleon,  -Sabrina>


Possible Betta Medication Blunder  - 05/22/2006 Hi!  My fish and I are in trouble again.  Thank you for being here!  I have a ten gallon tank, AquaClear HOB filter with sponges, BioMax and carbon, Stealth heater maintaining the temperature consistently at 78 degrees, 7 java plants, 1 java moss plant housing 1 male Betta, 10 mo.s old.  Water param.s are:  Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10, PH 7.  I change the water 20% every week and swish the sponge, etc. in the siphoned water and vacuum the 1/4 inch of gravel.  About a week ago, my Betta developed a strange red spot on his fin (like blood) I thought it was an injury and the fin is ripped a bit and has a black edge to it, until I notice he had a white patch on his body going toward his tail. He also had a white line that appear to be drawn with eyeliner right under his dorsal fin.  I treated him with KanaPlex (2 measures 2 times) and looked better... I stopped the treatment.  He became pale and also developed a whitish area under his chin which became fuzzy looking when you looked at him with the tank unlit.  I treated the tank with KanaPlex (2 measures) and NeoPlex (5 measures) after doing a 20% water change.  He sits in his bush at the top of the water and barely moves now, he will come to eat, he has eaten so far; however, this morning he wanted to eat and it seemed he couldn't find the floating pellet, he did finally find it with my help and ate it.  I feed him Addison's Betta Pro in the a.m. and Hikari frozen bloodworms and Mysis shrimp in p.m. by hand. <Mmm, your system and treatments thus far sound fine... I suspect there is something else at play here... a source of environmental trouble, poisoning> I have treated him with this combo before successfully when he was sick after I brought him here.  I am wondering if I should be treating him with something else.  I know that I should not have stopped the treatment the first time when he looked better and that I should have finished the complete treatment...my bad.  My concern is that I stopped and then started again and maybe now this combination will not work? <If it was going to, it would very likely have>   Seachem indicated that I should buy Sulfathiazole, which I did go and buy but have not used yet. <Is very safe, can be effective against certain types of microbes> Seachem indicated that I should continue treatment with the KanaPlex and NeoPlex and if that does not clear the problem, I should move on to the Sulfathiazole; however, the local aquarium store says that this is not as strong as the KanaPlex and NeoPlex. <Mmm, but treat different things (gram staining characteristic mostly)... and are largely miscible> I am so confused as to what I should do next.  I hate dumping meds in a tank, to me sometimes it makes the problem worse when I am really unsure of what I am treating and I have already made a mistake with stopping the first treatment short I believe.  I have always trusted your advice, can you please give me a few suggestions?  Thank you.  Sue <Is there something else that has been added to this tank recently? A possibility that a glass cleaner, other aerosol has made its way into the water? I would add a few ounces of activated carbon to your outside filter (in a Dacron bag) and possibly a bit of Epsom salt (covered on WWM), and leave off with the antibiotics and sulfa drug. Bob Fenner>


A Thanks and Success Stories 6/23/06 Greetings from humid Chicago! <Nice day today, and a nice weekend coming up.  Hello from Aurora.> I just wanted to say Thank you for all the time and effort you (everyone) put into the site. <We try.>   My Betta, and work buddy, of almost two years came down with a nasty infection which led to him having Popeye in both eyes and severely swollen lips. He had also stopped eating. <An unhappy Betta for sure.>   I immediately rushed him home that night and treated with new water with Epsom salt added to the water every day. After only 4 days he was looking normal, and after 6 days he was eating ravenously and after two weeks of treatment with just the Epsom salts and water changes he is happy and healthy again. <Nice work and congratulations.> A year ago all of you also helped me get through my first case of ich in my marine tank. Only having the tank for a year up until that point had caused me to panic from lack of experience. But after treating the effected fish with the proper doses of copper in his own tank and running the main tank fallow except for the inverts for 35 days we where parasite free!! <It's really not that bad is it.  Wish others would follow your actions.> (By the way, the effected fish had been in my main tank for 8 months following a 3 week stay in quarantine. <Not quite long enough, 4 to 6 weeks is better.> He came down with ich after a water change I had performed. I had never seen ich in my tank until then.) I know if it weren't for you guys/gals I probably would have been dumping Mela-Broken, QuickCure, Stop Parasites, (aka Tabasco sauce!!) and lord only knows into my main tanks and probably would have killed everything off! Thank you guys/gals again for all the years and wisdom of the HANDS ON experience you all posses!!   <Thank you for taking the time to learn how to properly take care of your fish and not just reaching for the quick and easy "solution".> Sincerely, Heather <Good to hear of your success and please pass on your knowledge and experiences to others.> <Chris>


Very Ill Bettas--Kato, Groucho, Angelo and Curious George  7/10/06 Hello all, <Hi there - you've got Jorie this evening.> I am very sad to say that my 3 out of 4 Bettas are very ill. <Uh-oh.>   I had to  go out of town for two weeks and the person who cared for the Bettas overfed them and neglected to take care of their water (same story).   <I have found that preparing individual sandwich baggies containing the exact amount of food for each fishtank is the best way to go when you are dealing with inexperienced, albeit good-intentioned fish sitters.  It looks a bit silly to have a baggie with 3-4 tiny pellets for one Betta for one day, but it saves a lot of headaches and heartaches in the end.  Just something to consider for next time.> Of course,  when I returned I immediately changed their water.   <Excellent.> The next morning, however, one of them was lying on the bottom of the tank and refused to eat.  He has not eaten since then--which was 5 days ago. <Bettas can go even a week or more without food and be OK.  But to try and stimulate his appetite, try using a bit of garlic oil (I use Kent's Garlic Xtreme)...one or two drops either on his dry or frozen-then-thawed food, or a drop directly in the tank.  This is potent stuff...a very little bit goes a long way.  What do you usually feed your Bettas?  If he's not used to it, he might get super-excited about a Mysid shrimp and go for that...>   He did  have pop eye which I managed to treat successfully with salt.   <Excellent!> I read all the fish disease charts and came to the conclusion that he may have a fungus, as  he had a little white film near his gills, so I started him on Maracyn and  Maracyn 2.  He is now hardly breathing and lying on the bottom.  Is  there anything more I can do for him? <I would have made the same diagnosis.  How long has he been on this treatment and how many more doses does he have?  I'd suggest finishing the current course of medication, then changing the water completely, and re-assessing.  I'd suggest Malachite Green as a last resort, as it is very harsh, but it is effective at treating fungus.  One of those situations where the cure may actually kill, though; hopefully with good husbandry and his current treatment he'll make a full recovery.> Another, Curious George, was also  starting to lay on his side on the bottom of the tank but would manage to prop himself up on the suction cup that holds his heater.  I also put him on Maracyn and Maracyn 2, and he seems to be responding to that treatment.  He is swimming more often and still eating. Should this treatment correct his ailment--he has white around his gills, but I can't tell if it is a fungus since he has always had white in that area. <It's always best to finish a course of medication whenever possible.  Unless things take a drastic turn for the worse, keep doing what you are doing.  The resting instead of swimming behavior could be constipation, especially since his temporary caretaker seems to have grossly overfed him.  I'd suggest fasting him for a day or two, then gradually reintroducing food.  You could also try thawing a frozen pea, shelling it and cutting it into tiny bits...this could help clear out his system.  Many Bettas won't touch the pea, though, so that's not always a feasible solution.>   The third, Kato, has an extreme case of fin rot, and I just noticed that he has a small white spot above one eye and his color is graying and not shiny and healthy-looking.  Is this ich, although I haven't noticed him scratching  against gravel.  Does this call for Maracide with tetracycline added?   I did start him out on Maracyn and Maracyn 2 thinking that this small white spot may be the start of a fungus.  How do you tell the difference between  fungus or ich? <Fungus is more of a blanket-like covering, whereas ich typically looks a sprinkling of salt.  It's very rare to have just one ich spot - based on everything else going on and what's going on with Kato's friends, I'd bet it is the start of fungus.  Again, continue treating as you are, keep the water clean, and all should be well.  Of course keep a close eye on his condition and re-assess as necessary.  You could even bump up his heat to 81 or 82 degrees F (same for his friends); this will generally help recovery, but in the event it is ich (I don't think so), that's always a good treatment option.>   I have been searching out your FAQ's, but I am so confused  as to what medications are best.  Of course, I cannot find Kanacyn  which I have read about, but if I have to I will order online.   <I'm lucky - I live in a large suburb of Chicago, and we have many LFSs with a good selection of fish meds.  I believe you can order many medications from www.drsfostersmith.com, but if not, do a Google search and you'll find what you need.  Do keep in mind that there really isn't always a perfect medication, especially when you are dealing with antibiotics.  I have personally had success in treating sick Bettas with the "Maracyn" family of medications.> For reference, I have each of them in a 2.5 gallon tank with a filter and a heater. <Yay! This is like Betta-heaven! Why can't there be more Betta owners like you!!! Your fish are very lucky to have you, my dear.> I am also confused as to how much salt is  needed for this size tank.  The directions on the box say 1 T. for a 5 gallon tank, which would be 1.5 tsp. for a 2.5 tank.  But I just read in  your FAQs that 1.5 of a T. is good for a 1 gallon tank.  What is the  correct amount? <When in doubt, go with the more conservative approach toward any treatment or medication.  Remember, you can always add more, but it's much more difficult to do the opposite.  Try the smaller amount, give it some time to work, and gradually increase up to the max. limit if need be.> I am so sad about my little one curled up on the bottom,  and I just don't know what else to do. <You are doing all that you can - rest assured! Bettas are remarkably resilient little creatures...don't give up hope!> Is there a super duper medication I can give him? <I wish there were a "miracle cure", but sadly, if there is, I haven't found it yet (sorry, Marc Weiss, No Sick Fish, etc. - marketing isn't everything!)   The fourth, Angelo, seems to be okay, but I am keeping a close watch on him.   <Very wise.> No, (slaps face) I have not been testing the water,  as they have been so happy for a year now, but I will now start the regimen,  although it may be moot for Groucho. <Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I'm in the same boat in this regard.  In all honesty, once you've established the tank and provided that you religiously do your water changes, don't overfeed, etc., the test kits aren't going to tell you what you don't already know.  In this situation, though, I would recommend double-checking, just to be safe...it can't hurt.  Do be sure the kit hasn't expired prior to using it, though.> I also do a 70% change of water  every 4 days. <Excellent - keep it up, of course minding the medications directions regarding when to (and not to) change the water.>   Any info would be most appreciated. <Valerie, you are a wonderful fish mom, and any Betta is lucky to have you! Keep doing what you are doing, watching everyone closely, and re-assess as needed. Hopefully with your careful attention they will all pull through and be just fine. I'm crossing my fingers for you!>    Valerie--confused moi! <You aren't so confused, my friend...you're doing a great job! Jorie>

Re: Treating A Betta With Metronidazole  - 5/7/2006 Dear Chuck, I just e mailed you back to ask you how much  Metronidazole to give to Sammy. He is in a tank with 2 liters of water not 1 to 2 gallons as I told you before.  Thank you again. Audrey < When you buy the medication it has directions of usually one tablet per 10 gallons. You could cut it in half and treat a 5 gallon bucket of aged water and use that water to put your Betta in.-Chuck>

Re: Treating Fish with Metronidazole  - 5/7/2006 Thank you so much for your fast response Chuck. How much of the Metronidazole should I give him?  We have some 250 mg   tablets that we used on our dog.  Is it the same thing? If you help me save him it will be a miracle.   Thank you so much    AUDREY < It should be the same stuff. Do a 50% water change, clean the filter and vacuum the gravel. Use one tablet per 10 gallons of water. Treat every other day and do a 50% water change in between treatments. When the fish starts to eat he is getting better.-Chuck>

Sick Betta Finally Getting Better   1/11/06 Hooray! He ate today for the first time in nearly a week and he's showing signs of his old spunk. The grey blobs of fungus or bacterial rot or whatever it was are all gone (although so are large portions of his formerly gorgeous Crowntail). There are no more ich spots and the few cloudy areas on his body are clearing. It's so good to know one CAN save a fish. Usually it's so difficult. Basically, here's the treatment I used that was successful: I put him in a 2.5 gallon hospital tank with water that was treated as directed on the packages of Maracide and Maracyn. The room I keep my fish tanks in (there are several) is heated to a constant 78 but while this Crowntail was ill I pumped it up to 80. I moved him to a new 2.5 gallon hospital tank daily to help control the Ick faster. The water in each tank contained the same amount of meds and had been seasoned and left to come to ambient room temperature for 24 hours before the transfer. (BTW- I don't net my Bettas. I herd them into a specimen container to avoid damaging fins and tails. They are used to it and don't seem to mind after a while.) And I learned a huge lesson. I'll never never do a water change, clean the tank and clean the filter on the same day ever again. I really thought that the untouched bio-wheel alone could manage and was trying to save myself time. Instead I lost my beautiful Betta's tail and nearly his life. Oh yes, and I ended up spending a fortune on meds not to mention hours on care. < Congrats on a successful treatment. Welcome to the club.-Chuck>

Pouring chemicals on Bettas won't cure them if the root problem is environmental  - 2/4/2006 Hello... our Betta has been sick for 3 weeks.  At first it looked like he had possible internal parasites, so we gave him "Parasite Clear".  That didn't seem to improve his condition.  Then he seemed to have velvet.  So we gave him "Fungus Clear".  He seemed to improve somewhat, but then started not eating and just laying on the bottom.  Sometimes he comes to the top for air and dives headfirst to the bottom and either lays on the bottom on his side or "sits" on his tail with his head up, the eventually lays on his side on the bottom.  I just cleaned his tank AGAIN and added "BettaFix".  Now he really isn't doing well at all.  His breathing is getting worse, and he lays on the bottom most of the time.  He doesn't respond when I gently move his tank to get him to move.  We got him about 2 years ago.  Do you think this is just old age taking over? Thanks, Donna <... is this fish in a heated, filtered system? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

What's wrong with my Betta? 8/9/05 Hi, I have a Betta fish who recently developed Ich.  I saw tiny white spots on his fins and noticed that he had like a thick white line under his body below his bottom fin.  I treated with Quick Cure <Toxic... Formalin and Copper> and a salt tonic from the fish store.  When I came back from the weekend my fish looked worse.  He doesn't have the spots on his fins anymore; but still has the thick white line and now his fins look like they are coming apart at the ends.  He is laying at the bottom a lot today.  Any ideas? Thank you! Allison <Yes. You need to study... start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm then the linked files above, then re Bettas... Bob Fenner>

Sick Betta, cut the copper Hello all, <Hi there> I'd like to pick your brains if possible, because I'm out of ideas at the moment.  I purchased a Betta in January from a private breeder. This Betta had eaten his tail (I know that he ate it rather than infection because I watched him chase it while I was standing in the store, and the owner had kept his water clean -- there was no tail rot when I got him, he just had a rough trip from Thailand)  Anyway, he was about 5 months old upon purchase, and made leaps and bounds in recovery since I've had him in his own private 1 gallon tank.  His water is completely changed weekly, along with my other Bettas who sit on a table right next to him.  The water temp is kept pretty constant at about 76, the pH hovers between 7.4 and 7.6.  I do use a dechlorinator as directed, and a pinch of aquarium salt on all of them, and none of the others are showing ill effects as if there was something wrong with the water. <Okay> Up till now the sick one had been very active.  I'd noticed in the last week or so that he'd become progressively more sluggish, however, that's pretty much the only symptom. He is pale, fins are a little clamped but healthy, and he is clearly not wanting to move and not eating as of Friday, (normally he's a voracious eater of FD bloodworms and Betta Bio-Gold).  I have done complete water changes on him the last two days, and I put a big chunk of almond leaf, and a drop of Aquarisol in with him in addition.  He shows no signs of fungus, parasites, strange spots, gill inflammation, raised scales, swelling, bloating, actual problems swimming. . . he's just extremely weak and I've lowered the water level in his tank so he can get to the surface easier to breathe. <Mmm, may well be "just" the Aquarisol... I would discontinue the use of this copper product period, maybe add a bit of salt as a cathartic>   He is laying on the plant leaves just below the surface and taking breaths from the air occasionally, but his gills are not moving hard and he doesn't seem to be struggling to breathe.   If anything, I'd say his gills are flapping a little on the slow side.  He has not freely swum since Thursday; when he does move, it is to try to wiggle further onto a leaf to stabilize himself, and he's been this way for coming on 24 hours.  I have on hand Tri-sulfa, but I don't have reason to suspect this is bacterial, and don't want to be harder on him than necessary. I bought him out of pity because he was absolutely in tatters and I wanted to give him another chance when he'd been surrounded by walls full of gorgeous healthy fish, and now I'm heartbroken at the idea of losing him without even being able to identify why.  I've read and reread just about every page Google can find on Betta illnesses, and even fish illnesses in general and nothing matches. If you guys have any ideas what might be going on, or suggestions of other things I could try, that would be absolutely appreciated. Thank you, Brianna <Am not a big fan of copper... many places around the world also avoid its use, using Malachite Green solution instead if there are discernible parasite problems with their Bettas. Bob Fenner>

Bad reaction to Melafix? Hi, I just recently bought a male Betta fish, Odysseus, from a local store; I've only had him for a little more than a week. He lives in a very clean, one-gallon bowl (with a constant temperature of around 70 degrees, due to a stuck college dorm radiator that turns our room tropical). <Actually... would be better if it were stuck a bit higher... the upper seventies are better for your Betta> I know that it's better for a Betta to have a bigger tank, (and he will once I save up for one) but I figured that anything would be better than the dirty little cup he was living in at the store. When I first brought him home, he was blowing bubble nests and exploring his bowl, but then I notice that his fins were getting raggy and that he was clamping and spending more time just floating around. I realized that Odysseus had fin rot, <But, from what cause?> ...so I did some research and bought MelaFix and Maracyn II. The Maracyn II seems to have worked. The rot has disappeared and my fish is looking a lot better. Then I added the Melafix to the bowl so that the fins and tail would mend faster. But Odysseus seems to clamp up when I add the Melafix. Is it possible that he's having a bad reaction to it? <Yes... know that I am NOT a fan of this and other "herbal" "remedies"> I've discontinued its use, but I hate to see him looking so ragged and unhealthy. Is there anything else that I can give my little fishy to help fix him up? Is there anything I should feed him to encourage fin re-growth? Thank you for your time. <You might add a bit of salt... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>


Betta with fin rot Hi. You've already answered a few questions about my new Betta. To refresh your memory, he's in a 2 ½ gallon tank with box filter and heater. I've been struggling with high ammonia and then high nitrites since Christmas time. I've been doing 50 % water changes for several weeks now, but ammonia is still at .25 and nitrites are anywhere from 2.0 to 1.0 after a water change. Nitrates were at 10 a few days ago. I actually just bought a 5 gallon tank that I want to switch him to.  <Ah, a very good move> I thought I might be able to give him more space as well as cycle that tank faster without him in it using 'CYCLE'. <You are correct here> I just set that one up 3 days ago with sponge filter and have been putting food in it like I'm feeding a fish, along with the Cycle. Question: Not surprisingly my Betta has developed fin rot. His tail is separating has some tiny pin holes and looks frayed at edges. Pet store guy sold me BettaFix which I've used for the last three days but I'm worried my box filter will eliminate the meds if the carbon is still active.  <Yes, also so> Also, how will this affect the cycling process? <Will forestall it> I also just read that such products are not a cure for fin rot but might stop the deterioration of the fins. Please help! What should I do until new tank is fully cycled? <Mmm, keep changing water if ammonia, nitrite approach 1.0 ppm., add salt to the water... this last will likely effect a cure> Any meds for the fin rot? Keep doing daily water changes of 40-50%? When new tank is ready, do I just float him in it to acclimate? <Along with adding, mixing new and old water in with the fish and the new tank> Thanks for any advice you can offer. Kim <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm  and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Betta laying on it's side In August I purchased a beautiful blue Betta named Krispie. Krispie had the opportunity to be a guest at the head table on my wedding day! <Quite an honor for Krispie.> Unfortunately Krispie has not been doing to well this past week in January...I went to the Pet Shop today and the man was not too helpful with me. <Sadly that seems to happen far too often in today's pet shops for my taste.> I told him that Krispie has been lying on his side and constantly stays at the bottom of the 1.84 Litre or 1/2 U.S. Gal. Aquarium. He gave me BettaFix Remedy and I added 1.2 ml of it today. My water is also treated with Betta Plus Bowl Conditioner...Water temperature is at 79 F. Is there anything I could do? <I have friends that have used the BettaFix and said that it had worked on curing their Betta with illness, though I haven't used it personally on any of my Bettas.  The Water Conditioner is fine, and is needed if you water has high medals or chlorine additives.  If there isn't any physical signs of sickness, (i.e., white cottony fungus, swelling, eyes cloudy) then it's hard to diagnose what could be the problem.  One of the best things you can do is to make sure the fish has clean water, and perhaps use an additive that is designed to help with the fishes slime coating (which prevents bacterial infections).> I heard about Epsom Salt...Is it the same thing that you would find in a Pharmacy....Should I use this in the bowl....Please Help...Krispie's Family <I wouldn't add salt to his tank, keep using the BettaFix per the package's instructions.  If the fishes health doesn't improve I suggest you do a large water change, and then try treating the fish with something a little more potent.  I would try Maracide, which has worked many times on my Bettas.  Also the other medicines offered by the Mardel company work, though you have to cut them up to use in such a small container.  Good luck with Krispie, hope he gets better. -Magnus>


Betta Fungus Thanks for the info - yes, we change the water weekly.  I took a really good look at him last night - I'm thinking it may be a fungus - it looks like white "fluff" on his fins and there's even some floating in the water (which I changed).  We do tend to keep our house cooler at night so the temperature changes may be affecting him - still the other one seems fine. >>Fungus can be difficult to cure. Usually a broad-spectrum antibiotic is required, but you must realize that it is expensive to use, and there are no guarantees. Do your water changes twice a week, and make sure not to contaminate your other Betta. You can try your Local Fish Store and see what meds they carry to combat fungus. Also, try to keep your Bettas a bit warmer, say, between 74-78F, and stable. A small tank with a heater might be best for him, in wintertime. -Gwen

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