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FAQs on: Betta Diseases: Environmental 3 (the most common cause)

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

Related FAQs: Environmental 1, Environmental 2, Environmental 4, Environmental 5, & Betta Disease 1, Betta Disease 2, Betta Disease 3, Betta Disease 4, Betta Disease 5, Betta Disease 6, Betta Disease 7, Betta Disease 8, Betta Disease 9, Betta Disease 10, Betta Disease 11, Betta Disease 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 Disease Causes/Etiologies: Determining/Diagnosing, Nutritional, Viral/Cancer, Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal) , Parasitic: Ich/White Spot, Velvet; Senescence/Old Age, Cures/Curatives/Treatments, & Bettas in General, Betta ID/Varieties, Betta System, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling, Betta Behavior, Betta Compatibility FAQs, Betta Selection, Betta Feeding, Betta Reproduction,

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta Issue Not Listed; actually....      8/19/13
Nice informative site!
<Ah yes>
Bought 2 Halfmoon Double Tail Bettas 8 months ago; a rare (for Houston) royal blue for my place, and peacock-teal for elderly mom and her nurse.
Both are in 2.5 gal Betta Bow tanks which maintain 80 to 82 degrees.  
Had to treat both w/BettaFix twice because of fin rot, most likely due to initially using straight Ozarka Spring water the first few months.

After talking to local shops, starting using tap water w/Betta Bowl Plus which has worked great!  Fins & tails back in few weeks and no issues until recently
w/mom’s getting clear color streaks in his fins/tail.  They do water/filter changes about every 3 to 4 weeks w/a half tank change every 2 weeks.
<Mmm, better by far to do this changing out half every week;
best via gravel vacuuming the bottom w/ a small diameter tool for aquarium purpose (need help searching?). NOT change out all ever... Your issue/the Betta's problem here is almost assuredly principally environmental... too much metabolite accumulation and too much change/vacillation when it's changed>
When streaks were first apparent we tested for Ammonia, which was negative, did water change anyway, ran two full treatments of BettaFix w/o filter, then changed water, w/little results.   Dorsal is striped with clear streaks w/anal fin almost completely clear! (See attached)  In spite of the look “Nemo” seems hearty and eats like a pig!
<Ah good>
Both are fed daily about 3 small floatable pellets advertised for color and balanced nutrition.  Mine gets small amounts of chopped dried bloodworms twice a week.
<Mmm, dried are better... than other formats>
 I plan to show the nurse a safe amount of bloodworms for more balanced diet for theirs.
Sorry for length, did not want to leave anything out so hopefully someone can correctly diagnose the streaks and potential cause(s).   
<Very common issue... do just use the search tool on WWM (on every page) w/ the string "Betta Streaked Fins"... septicemia induced via env. issues>
Should we start a salt treatment and can it be used in conjunction w/a recommended medication for this condition? 
<Mmm, no; no treatment necessary or advised. Just improvement in water quality; akin to your first stmt. Bob Fenner>
Please advise.
Best Regards,

Urgent Betta Problem     8/8/13
<Hello Abigail,>
My brother has a beautiful reddish Betta fish that he keeps alone in a relatively large, circular bowl.
<For how long has he been in there? How is it kept warm? How is it filtered?>
She is active, eats well, and is presumably very healthy. I just went to clean out the bowl, and at on top of the rocks at the bottom there is a skin-tone bubbly-looking mass. It looks to be about 3 cm wide and 1 cm tall. It consists of three solid tone circles that look as if they melted together in the center, and two transparent tone bubbles of the same peach color on either side of the solid toned mass.  There appears to be nothing inside of it. I want to know what it is before I clean it away, because I fear it could be a sign off some sort of illness.
<Unlikely; I would remove quickly though. No idea what it is. If it's soft and gooey, it's likely uneaten food or decaying organic matter of some sort, or something like that...>
I've also included a picture of the mass (it is circled in red) and I can tell that it is definitely not a rock. Please respond as soon as you can! 
Thank you in advance, Abigail
<Abigail, do have your brother review Betta requirements; this chap looks underweight (a bit) and his fins look ragged from this angle, so I'd be cautious about his future. Start here:
This fish needs, at minimum, a 4-5 gallon aquarium, a heater, and a filter.
Sadly animals cannot survive on love alone, and do have a few non-negotiable requirements. Cheers, Neale.>

Strange Coloration on Betta's Tail      5/30/13
I just set up my tank last week, so it had to go through a fish in cycle.
<Too new to stock>
However, I used Stability by Seachem for the seven days that it requires to help the process along and gain all of the necessary bacteria. Also, I use Prime when I do my water changes. during this process I've done almost daily water changes, usually 25-35%. I did one 75% when I switched from gravel to sand. In my tank I have live plants as well as plastic. In my tank there are 4 Albino Cory Catfish, 1 MM Platy, and 1 male Betta. I am writing this message because The tip of my Betta's tail has a waxy look to it. At first I was worried it might be the beginning stages of Fin Melt.
He has one tear in his tail fin from snagging on an ornament about 5 days ago, however I haven't seen any signs of white lining his fins except in one spot on a front fin that is just some fin growing back in. He is eating normally and doesn't show typical signs of stress like clamp fin. However, the reason I even notices his tail's waxy look and slightly darker coloration is due to his sudden change in behavior. He has gotten to where he almost constantly swims back and forth along the back wall of glass along the length of the aquarium, which is 10 gal.
<Likely reacting to its (internal, you can't see it) reflection>
He has no signs of nipping and none of the other fish bother him. I thought my filter may be too strong but the current is fairly light. I also thought that maybe it was the light that was bothering him since I has a fluorescent bulb. I only have one bulb in so that one side of the tank is slightly darker. I have floating plants and places for him to hide.
I don't understand why he is pacing or why the tip of his tail fin has that waxy look to it.
<Not to worry re this last... happens; will repair itself>
 Since I noticed the change, I did a 30% water change and started treating with aquarium salt,
<... the Corydoras don't "like" added salts; stop>
no other medicines have been applied because I don't want to treat for the wrong thing.
<Ah good>
 Since the salt was added there was slight improvement, but the pacing is still almost constant.
<Try taping a piece of paper over one side (outside) the tank... the side receiving the most ambient light is best>
 Temp is usually a constant 79 or 80, it only changes slightly when I do my water changes since room temp is cooler than my tank temp. I always treat my water and let it sit before adding to the water. My PH is in the 7s and my GH and KH are both 6. Please help me figure out what is wrong with my Betta before it progresses, especially if it does turn out to be Fin Melt.
Thank you,
<Patience and the paper, tape here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Strange Coloration on Betta's Tail      5/31/13

Thank you for replying so quickly! I did what you said and added the paper.
He is still pacing, but I'm not ruling it out yet since I know these things take time.
<Ah yes>
 I won't add any more salt since I don't want to make my little cories uncomfortable. For now, I'll just keep the aquarium lights off and leave the paper up and wait for any improvement. I will keep you posted if I see any improvements or turns for the worse.
<Real good. And I would be testing for possible ammonia, nitrite and (hopefully accumulating) nitrate>
Thanks again.
<Welcome. BobF>

Betta with mysterious illness... too typical western hypochondria     3/24/13
Hello, I have a beautiful black crown tail Betta that I had found at a local Wal-Mart. I have had him for a few months now and he was being housed in a 5 gallon aquarium with a internal tetra whisper (rated 5-10) and a 2-5 gallon heater. When I had got him I noticed that he had a few white "pimples" around his head.
<Likely "caused" by poor water quality... self-curing>
The largest one (about the size of a pin head) being behind his right gill above his fin and the rest being around his mouth. He acted normal<ly> and was eat fine despite the odd little white spots.
I began treating with Jungle All in One and aquarium salt
<... treatments not necessary... More harm than good. Only good care called for>

 because I have never seen this and could find anything specific on the internet. Well that did nothing and the pimples are still there so I figured that it may just be a harmless spot. After awhile I was inspecting him and discovered a bunch of tiny white round bugs hanging out on the glass of the tank.
<Not problematical>
 I jump on the internet and find out that it could either be diatoms or it could be fish lice but I don't have a microscope to determine. So I started treating with Kordon's Rid Ick.
<... no; NO! Toxic>

After three days of treatment I noticed that he had started to wedge himself in behind his filter and appeared to have a hard
time swimming and seemed to be unable to swim downward. Knowing that this is a possibly swim bladder issue
<... stop, please. There is no such thing>

 I turned his filter off
<Don't do this... likely the real issue is and was just poor water quality.

No sense doing anything but refer you to WWM. Read re Betta Systems, Health. No more drugs for you, it; these have poisoned this fish. Bob Fenner>>
so that he maybe able to swim more comfortably with his issue until the medication ran its course. Well, the next day I went to feed him and noticed that now instead of not being able to swim down he couldn't swim up to get his food. After some more research I made the decision to move him into a smaller tank with about and inch of water to make it easier for him to eat and breath.
Thinking it was swim bladder I have been giving him treatment after treatment of different antibiotics with no improvement. I have also discovered that the base of his right pectoral fin appears to be swollen and also has little white pimples and he is now starting to gape his right gill. He lays on the bottom of the tank on his side with his head towards the surface to take breaths of air. He'll occasionally ventures a swim but it he wobbles and the stops and assumes the same position. The miracle is that he is still eating well and with that there is hope. However, everything I have researched doesn't match all of his symptoms and the treatments have not helped. So far I have tried ethromycin, neomycin, nitrofurazone and of course aquarium salt. Please help he is fighting so hard and I can't come up with anything to make him feel better.

Floating Betta     2/10/13
Mr. Fish is approximately 5 years old. He has been active & inquisitive. Lately, he has been floating on his side at the top of his bowl. He does not dash for his food nor does he greet you when you approach the bowl.
<Bowls aren't healthy… do you really mean a bowl? Not an aquarium?>
The only thing else is that there are cloudy bb sized globules in the tank now.
<Something has got in the tank and made a mess… likely endogenous (fish waste, overfeeding, dead snails…) but could possibly be external… do a series of water changes, 25-50% now… the same amount 6 hours later… maybe again tomorrow if things haven't settled. Do also give the filter a good clean, though of course taking care to keep the biological media alive.>
Some on artificial plants, some on rocks & some on bottom. They are definite not bubblenests. They are sticky to the touch & dissolve to nothing when smushed. I cleaned tank & rocks thoroughly.  He seemed a bit better, but is back to floating,  lethargy & the bb sized globules are back. Don't know if he is making them or some kind of contaminate is. Any clues or advice? Thank you!
<Nothing in your message explains what might be wrong. Will remind you the basics for Betta care: 5+ gallons aquarium, a mature biological filter, a heater. Do 20% water changes weekly. Feed in moderation, removing uneaten food within a couple minutes. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re: Floating Beta 02/13/13

Thank you. Am just stumped by the bb sized globules. He's been in the same 2 1/2 gal aquarium all his life. Has been frisky & comes to greet you at feeding time until those globules showed up. Tank & filter Plants & rocks were thoroughly cleaned with a weak solution of bleach water & aired for 3 days. <<... cycled?>> Water added & aired for 3 more days with an ick solution added. Have you ever seen those globules before?
<In bowls, almost anything can happen, especially if water isn't being moved around through a filter. Globules could be bacterial, could be algal, could be clumps of silt and mucous… it's really hard to say. They're unlikely to be of benefit though! If anything can accumulate at the bottom of the tank and form a distinct shape, that's a good clue there isn't enough circulation. Since you've kept this animal in the same container for several years, I dare say you have the basics covered, but 2.5 gallons is a trivial amount of water, and honestly not ideal for Bettas. It's like keeping a dog cooped up in the garage all its life; yes, it might live, but hardly healthily. Forget the hokum about Bettas being happy in jars and living in water-filled hoof prints in the wild! They are naturally inhabitants of ponds, ditches and paddy fields, and enjoy space as much as the next fish. Their over-bred fins mean they can't swim in strong water currents and they compete poorly with more agile fish, but that aside, they deserve as good as any other fish. Providing an aquarium 5 gallons or larger would be a huge benefit, even at this stage in the animal's life, and if you moved across the water, heater and filter, you'd not need to worry about the cycling process or exposing it to changes in environmental parameters (temperature, water chemistry). Plus, you wouldn't need to deep clean the rocks and things every five minutes because a bigger tank would be cleaner, healthier. Done deal! Cheers, Neale.> 
Re: re: Floating Beta     2/14/13

Hey thanks for the forthright advice! Appreciate the honesty.
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>

Very Sick Betta :(   just env. as usual     1/8/13
I just purchased a little female Betta from a wonderful PetSmart nearby.
After two days I realized that something is up with her, she has a strange patch on one side and a film on her eye (same side). While the other side near her face she has white film all over.
<Mmm, rough handling, poor circumstances likely the root cause here>
I've scoured all over and I don't think it is water mold or fungus, I know for certain it is not Ick.
She swam around her new temp bowl
<... has to be, the same as male Splendens Bettas, in a tropical/steady heated, and filtered setting... Read  here:
and the linked files above>
vigorously the first day I put her in, now she just sits at the top of the water in her plant making those little sickly bubbles, and she did not eat her pellet this morning (she's still too small for much else).
<... the environment>
I am not really sure how to describe these patches, they aren't really fuzzy but more of a film that has collected in specific areas. The one side of her face is almost totally white now (she is a solid black Betta). There is no heater in any of my tanks (Betta or otherwise) due to the temperature my apartment stays at, (a heater would just cook them, I actually have to have fans going to keep the room cool and at a nice temp around 77, 78 for them). I have aquarium salt and Epsom salt, left over from my dropsy epidemic (SIP Houdini and Dreamweaver), though I am not sure if I should use this or not and I doubt Bettafix would do anything, what other medications would you suggest? I will try to feed her brine shrimp later this afternoon to see if she will eat at all.
<No sense treating this fish... it just needs to have its world fixed. Bob Fenner>
After scouring your FAQs this was the closest thing I could find to this:
Sick Betta, not tickled Elmo... 10/16/05
Re: Very Sick Betta :(      1/8/12

Ok, I figured I would regret coming to this site for help. I would very much like for you to pass this case on to someone else who doesn't have a stick up their you know what.
I'm trying to help this poor fish that I've had for maybe 4 days max that I got at a PetSmart that handles all its fish with care and even names every Betta and fish that they sell. (This store is actually a Veterinary Clinic that converted to a PetSmart, hence why their animals are treated with such care) There is nothing wrong with her environment, I've raised Bettas for most of my life and never lost one to poor environment or disease, and very much know what I'm doing. The only thing I've lost them to was a couple freak cases of dropsy and old age (6+years). The reason I have come to your site for help, is because this is a condition I have never seen or come across before in my time of owning Bettas/fish. If need be, I will take my case to* www.bettafish.com *(throwing that site out there for other Betta parents in distress), since they actually help identify and treat Betta illnesses.
I don't appreciate the fact you refuse to help me treat my fish, "No sense treating this fish"
<There is no sense in adding chemicals, medicines... Read where you've been referred. The root trouble here is environmental>
 she is a living breathing creature and needs help. I could say a lot more about the statement you gave me, but I will not be inappropriate, since that will solve nothing.
As to her environment, there is nothing wrong with it, and she was going to move to a sorority tank after I knew that spot was nothing (which my suspicions were right, it was very much something). I'm glad I kept her in quarantine.
<I as well; but your rudeness is inappropriate. IF you're seeking free help of a more complimentary nature to yours, go elsewhere. BobF>

Potential Swim Bladder Problems – 12/13/12
My Betta fish, Kaos, is a little over a year and a half old. Yesterday he was having a difficulty sinking. Today he can't manage to stay afloat. I've done a lot of reading and it just seems like I can only find information about one or the other condition - nothing that deals with both.
<Mmm, could be that this lack of spatial control is due to two different causes... the one from food not digesting (and gasifying) and the other due to too long exposure to cold water (damage)>
 It gets cold in our apartment
<...? Bettas are tropical animals. NEED heated environments; won't live w/o a heater...>

 and we read that the cold water slows down the digestive process which could leave food blocking the gases that flow in and out of his swim bladder.
So we thought the initial floating problem was due that. We were considering an infection, but he's still trying to be active and still wants to eat (we give him about 1-3 pebbles/day, usually on the lower end depending on how active he seems). We put a floating "bed" in his tank to help him rest on and not have to come up so far for air, but do you have any other suggestions that could remedy the problem? Thanks.
<.... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Betta has white strings on some fins and won't eat       12/6/12
Hi. I've had a Betta about 8 months. He lives in a 10 gallon tank by himself with a filter.
<And a heater I hope/trust. This is a tropical fish, needs high constant temp.>
We vacuum it about every 1-2 weeks, and add new water. For about the past 2 weeks, he's barely eaten. He mostly stays in his vase or on the floor. When he does come up, it's short and mostly to get air oxygen. Also, he doesn't flare his fins. I think he has fin clamp. I haven't noticed anything bulging or spots. What can I do?
<Mmm, please read here:
for a quick review on needed habitat. Bob Fenner>

Betta Emergency: Pls help if you can, something has gone very wrong Emergency:     11/26/12
Pls help if you can, something has gone very wrong
Dear Crew,
<Sarah; have read over your copious notes and don't see primary information: Is/are the system/s for your Bettas heated, Not the room itself) filtered? Are they cycled? Do you have test results for nitrogen cycling (NH3, NO2, NO3?)... Have you read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
and the linked files above? Bob Fenner>
26/11/12 Monday TODAY = What a stressful few days it has been in my house!!!
I have no idea what happened, everything was going so well with my little adopted fish – even my known tail biter seemed okay and then everything took a turn for the worst.
If you do not have time to read through all the observation notes posted directly below that I have been
keeping regarding the last week that my fish have been unwell – then please just skip down to the part in this email starting with the section headed **EMERGENCY TIME!!! 23/11/12 ONWARDS.
Observation note Saturday 10/11/12:
Amazon fish related order arrived this morning.
Completed 100% water change with Seachem Prime and Stress Coat.
Added 2 x new silk plants (one looks like a penny wort replica the other has tall long fern type leaves) and also added a small zoo-med Betta floating log with feeding hole.
Put fish back into his tank with the new toys – he was calm, seemed happy, floated around calmly-looked to be exploring his new decorations but did not seem stressed by any of it nor did he seem to be avoiding any of the pieces.
Within 5 minutes of being put into his bowl he was even swimming straight through the floating Betta log, inside, outside, all around – took a pellet through the feeding hole - he even used the bulb of wood on the outside to rest his nose on and seemed very happy with it.
Probably about an hour later I was watching him from the couch – he swan inside his log and then the next minute he was thrashing round in circles like I've never seen him do before anywhere in his tank.
I moved from the couch and sat by his tank, watching and my hubby sat watching from the other end. After another few minutes he swam back inside the floating Betta log – it looked like once he was inside he then relaxed and tried to settle down inside it – his fins floated/expanded/branched out – and he immediately then started thrashing round and round in circles, like he was trying to attack his fins – perhaps because they hit the inside of the log and he thought he was being attacked by something or…?
I took the floating Betta log straight out if his tank.
Then put in a new floating lily pad instead. (almost exactly the same as the one he has always had in there)
It looks like there is new damage now to the longest part of his back fin and also a chunk out of his tail fin – but it is really hard to know for sure because I have not seen new damage before and his tail is pretty ragged already from past abuse).
I plan to watch him carefully over the next week – now that I have seen this new frenzied tail attack behaviour, it seems quite feasible that his little house that he had always had but that I did take out of his tank a few days after he moved in with me, was the tail biting trigger. I had removed that little house and never saw him showing any interest in his tail until I gave him the floating Betta log – which once inside that it I could clearly see what was happening.
I am slightly concerned now that his new silk plants that branch out through his bowl…which I had hoped would give him new ‘hiding’ and playing and exploring stimulation could in fact trigger the same behaviour – as he swims by the leaves they could touch his fins and set him off on the circling tail attacks – but I have not seen that reaction caused by the leaves yet and he has been swimming in between them and all around the bowl today – something to watch out for though.
At present it appears the behaviour is only triggered when his fins are touched inside a ‘confined space’.
Hubby is concerned that now he does not have a ‘house’ or ‘cave/log’ he can go into whenever he wants that will not be able to get enough ‘dark time’ to sleep properly or enough when he needs to. Hubby has suggested that if he does has this specific confined space tail biting trigger and that is the reason he attacks it all the time/never lets it grow back properly – that perhaps we need to start covering his bowl with a towel/sheet or something to make it dark for him…in place of giving him a ‘cave’ to go inside. I want to do more research to see if that is necessary.
I have Attisons Betta pellets being shipped from the IBC. Still yet to find supplier who will ship here and has Omega One or New Life Spectrum pellets though.

Observation note Sunday 11/11/12

Added one more silk plant to his bowl today. (3 in total now plus floating lily pad)
He appears so much more confident and brave when it comes to the silk plants today. I have been watching him try different and new routes of getting around and between the plants – have seen him seem to be resting on/squished between the bunched leaves of the pennywort.
Have not yet seen with my own eyes him spin in tail attack circles any time the leaves have touched his fins.

Observation note Saturday 17th Nov 2012
Second fish was delivered to my apartment.
Previous owner purchased this little guy in October 2011 from Malaysia. He is a half moon very dark midnight blue Betta with red pectoral fins and some red lines through his tail – in most light and photos he looks completely black though.
His fins are very long and look heavy for him – owner told me he needs resting points near the water height because he finds it hard to swim up to the top of the tank from the bottom because his fins are so heavy for him. Looks like he does not really swim fast or very much at all – just floats around slowly.
Doesn’t really explore or adventure around his tank like the tail biting little guy does.
Observation note Sunday 18th Nov 2012
My door bell rang this morning and it was a parcel delivery: along with the treasures inside were the higher/taller silk plants I had ordered and they are great - very wide and very soft silk leaves, they are almost as high as the water level which is what I was hoping for. I've been watching the heavy finned new guy closely today to make sure that he is feeling alright after his move; He has happily eaten his food every meal time without hesitation. He has calmed down heaps as far as flaring at the tail biter is concerned (I did move the bowls slightly further apart). He seems to be a very laid back little guy - just floats around slowly unless he is actually showing off/flaring. He does seem to like to rest right on the bottom of his tank.
My tail biter on the other hand - is as active as ever. He is very happy with his new tall and wide silk leaf hiding and resting points and he has even taken straight away to the taller 'upside down glass' resting ledge that I gave them both today.
<Need open access to the surface to respire ("breath")>
Observation note Tuesday 20th Nov 2012

Water change for both fish - First ever water change with new heavy finned fish.
Added both the SeaChem prime and SeaChem stress to his new water like I have been doing for Tail biter.
Took out all the floating lily pads because they were making it hard to feed them/observe them properly.
Attison Betta pellet food delivery arrived this morning along with the Indian almond leaves from the Betta Congress International association. Attison Pellets are really tiny and instructions say feed up to 7 pellets in a feeding session twice a day. Both fish ate them no problem, no spitting them out. Tail biter much more active/alert than heavy fin guy when it comes to finding food.
Heavy finned guy will not eat anything that is not floating on the water – he will not chase slowly sinking blood worms for example, and he misses or doesn’t see or isn’t interested in the pellets unless they are put right in front of him – even then he seems to wait for them to float towards him instead of him swimming toward them to eat them.

Observation note Wednesday 21st Nov 2012.
My husband left me a note before leaving for work saying that both fish seemed very aggressive/agitated this morning. He said they were flaring around but he didn’t know if it was at each other or simply at their own reflections in the bowl. Tail biter specifically was swimming up and down repeatedly from top to bottom of tank and hubby said it seemed he was using the side of the bowl to try and catch his tail to bite it. I've watched them all morning, and for the first few hours I was awake I did not see any signs of this but I’m pretty sure I have since seen my tail biter doing what hubby saw.
I have now cut two squares of Indian almond leaves I received yesterday and added them to his tank after washing them, also giving a piece to the heavy fin fish tank – am doing this in another attempt to try and make the tail biter happier and more calm to kill off this tail biting habit. I have also taken out the upside down tall glass that was in his tank to give him more swimming space – now he just has the two tall silk plants. Funnily enough, I was reading about a tail biter this morning who only bites his tail when the plants in his tank are too densely planted – Arghh – some say he needs more plants/hiding spots/playing areas and some say he needs less. Am pretty convinced now that tail biter would benefit from a much larger tank.
Heavy finned guy does seem a little more active today – I am thinking that could be due to the fact that this is his first day since I added the SeaChem stress to his water, or the new food or…I don’t really know J
1pm onwards – Tail biter is seriously agitated today, in an attempt to calm him down further I have placed a black tea towel around the back side of his bowl.
The towel is now blocking the direct light coming in through the window, making his bowl seem a lot darker and completely blocking any view he might have had of the other fish.
While I've been watching him I have noticed a spot on his bottom fin that looks dark but photographs the same as his greenish body colour, but he also has some black smudges on this bottom fin just under where it connects with his body – I don’t know if these marks have always been there – will check the previous photos – will also do a search online to see if this could be why he is irritated/itchy etc.

Observation note 22/11/12 Thursday – everyone is happy today, both fish calm and acting normally AND we have two big bubble nests that each of them has been busy making under their new Indian almond leaf pieces – yippee!!


Observation note 23/11/12 Friday: Heavy fin fish seems like he doesn’t want his food today, no idea why, First noticed today because he went to eat his breakfast but then spat it out multiple times - – then he just stopped trying to eat it anytime I tried again with pellets. Tried different pellet, same thing – he doesn’t want them. Both fish are getting an early 100% water change just to be safe. Seachem prime and SeaChem stress in new water as per usual. Both fish get given a new piece of the same Indian almond leaf that was washed before putting it on their tanks.

Observation note 24/11/12 Saturday: Heavy fin fish still refusing food and now he is laying on the bottom of his tank. Tail biter looks happy. Heavy fin fish that is not eating anymore and looks sick/lethargic also now has a clamped and ragged top fin – I honestly don’t know if this is how his fin looked when he arrived at my place, I didn’t inspect him close enough because he came as the ‘healthy’ fish with zero problems and I was so focused on the tail biter. He got worse and worse and I was really worried and had done hours more research – which has been non stop since I took them in. The only thing I had on hand was aquarium salt. Late this evening I made up a little half gallon bowl with SeaChem prime, SeaChem stress and half a teaspoon of dissolved aquarium salt. Moved the heavy fin fish into this solution and watched him. No change really. I left him there for a little while – the treatment I was going to follow said to leave him there for 24 hours, then give all new water and salt everyday for 7 days. But I had hesitations after he was in there for a while because I really didn’t feel confident in the science behind what I was doing to him so I took him out the salt after a little while and into his usual bowl. He sank to the bottom on the tank and laid there – I was certain he would be dead by the morning.

Observation note 25/11/12 Sunday:
Sunday morning – heavy finned fish is alive and looking better than ever! What a relief! He is hungry and wanting food. Tail biter looks good too. Both fish get given a new piece of the same Indian almond leaf that was washed before putting it on their tanks. Heavy fin fish has come back to life today and very keen to get back to his regular food routine. Heavy fin fish still has a noticely ragged top tail. Tail biter as happy as ever.

Observation note Sunday evening = I came home, went straight to the fish tanks for dinner feeding – heavy fin fish is happy and eating well but I cant see the tail biter, look for him and see he is lying flat on the bottom on his tank!!! Tap the tank,
<Don't do this. Harmful>

no response, move the bowl around, no response…completely lifeless except for a little movement of his gills – emergency time - I grabbed a little bowl, put SeaChem prime and stress into it and tried to move this little guy into – which was difficult because he was lifeless and I was so scared of hurting him trying to carefully put him in a cup for transfer. In the little new bowl he laid there, poor little thing! I realised even in the half gallon hospital bowl he could not get up all the way for air, so I took out half of the water and helped him up every couple of minutes by slightly tilting the bowl. When I put a pellet by his head as a test he eagerly grabs at it – no hesitation. Immediately I took the almond leaves out of both the normal tanks.
Both tanks had been given a piece of the same leaf this morning – that was washed before putting in their tanks everyday – nothing else had changed – and a day later I had another almost dead fish. At this point the heavy fin fish who was still looking fine and eating well was given yet another 100% water change just to be safe, with SeaChem prime and stress and I did not give him another of the almond leaves.

Observation note 26/11/12 Monday: (today)
Monday morning = heavy fin fish still looks good and tail biter is still alive, just, laying on his side at the bottom of the little bowl I had him in for the night. Still wanting to eat though – struggling to get the top of the water for air so I'm still helping him by tilting the bowl slightly to lift him up. Now this morning my little tail biter seems to have some water cotton fluff around the edges of his bottom fin, and flowing off from the fin slightly…
So at 10:30am I put all new water into a half gallon hospital tank, Added, SeaChem prime, SeaChem stress, and SeaChem ParaGuard to the water and moved tail biter into it. He seemed to immediately pick up a little. An hour later he is now able to actually not just lay flat on his side and can hang properly just below the water line for a few minutes before laying back on the bottom.
After more hours of research I decide that the SeaChem ParaGuard could help the heavy finned guy with this mystery fin rot he seemed to get at the same time as he looked on the verge of the death the other day. So I put a bit of this into his tank as well.
I am completely baffled – nothing science based is explaining the last week of events for me.
I have been super careful since taking these two in.
Keeping their routine as similar as possible to what they were use to in their previous home to reduce shock and stress.
The introduction of Seachem Stress to their water was initially to help the little tail biter regrow his fin – no adverse reaction from either fish for this addition to their water with every water change.
Both fish always get 100% water change twice a week, hasn’t been a problem.
Both fish happily took to the introduction of the Attison Betta Pellets – which I imported because reading and advice told me they were superior to the Hikari Gold baby pellets these guys has always lived on.
The absolute and only factor which seems to have caused an adverse reaction – at different times for each fish – is the placement of a new piece of Indian almond leaf.
But both fish show completely different symptoms at each point there has been a sudden emergency.
Heavy fin guy – went off his food, top tail ragged and withdrawn, ended up lifeless after a couple of days of this off behaviors.
Tail biter – never off his food, never looked lethargic, just suddenly laying on the bottom of his tank lifeless, the next day I can see the white cotton around the edge of his bottom tail and he is also still lifeless on the bottom of his tank.
Am I going crazy?
Is there any chance these leaves could have introduced a problem in the water?
To be honest, before my little tail biter was found on the bottom of his tank, I was certain that my heavy fin guy had taken a turn for the worse because he was stressed from the recent move to me, thus his immune system was compromised, resulting in one of the bacteria that is always present in the water being able to adversely affect him and take a hold.
But now that the tail biter fish suddenly got hit I am stumped – and am now convinced the almond leaves are the common link.
I can not find any information regarding negative side affects of the introduction of the leaves.
And I never would have gone to the trouble of importing them and including them in my boys tanks if I thought they could in any way react badly with them In fact – both fish seem to loved them – they both built big nests underneath the leaves almost instantly – but then a day later they were almost dead  :(
I am confused and stressed – and I know that someone here will be able to help me out.
As you can see, I have gone with the SeaChem ParaGuard as a first point of medicated treatment.
Unfortunately I live somewhere that very little is known about animal care and also the stores here almost stock nothing that I know is recommended as far as medication options.  I do not want to medicate incorrectly - or over medicate.
As well as the aquarium salt, SeaChem stress guard, SeaChem prime, SeaChem ParaGuard – I also have here with me right now but have not opened = Myxazin (by Waterlife – formaldehyde 0.12% w/w, Malachite green 0.085% w/w, Acriflavine hydrochloride 0.055% w/w)
and also Jungle Anti-Parasite Medicated Fish food (Metronidazole 1.0%, Praziquantel 0.5%, Levamisole 0.4%)
Heavy fin fish looks fine now back in his original 3 gallon with fresh water plus prime, stress and ParaGuard – his fins are still ragged but his behaviour and appetite are good.
Little tail biter is still now sitting in his half gallon recovery bowl with prime, stress and ParaGuard.  Please, what should I be doing or using??

If you can offer me any support, treatment suggestions etc for my little sick tail biter today – I would really appreciate it.
If however you require background information about how these little guys came into my life, their environment and history - please see below the older forum posts looking for help and my personal observation journal notes that I have pasted below, they begin from the first date that the little known tail biter came into my home...
Notes to self: *This Betta came into my home on Friday 2nd of Nov 2012. I took him in because his owner was leaving the country and was not able to find a new loving home for him. All her other Betta fish had found new homes but this little guy wasn't chosen by anyone. She loved her fish very much and was a great owner - none of her other fish ever attacked their own tail.
* He had been living with his previous owner since January 2012.
* She had purchased him as a beautiful half moon Betta with zero tail damage, in Asia and brought him back to this country packed inside her suitcase.
*After he moved into her home, he has routinely chomped off over half his natural tail length.  Owner reports that his tail does try to grow back, but once it does he always eats it back down to his ‘preferred size’.

Observation note Fri 2.11.12 owner brought him over to my house so this is the first day
with me. Bowl, products, food, bowl decorations all exactly the same as he has
always had. We set up his bowl together and I learned all I could from her
about her ‘routine’ with him.  Previous
owner says he looks very calm here, doesn’t seem stressed by move – eating normally
– enthusiastic to greet us at waters surface when we move near his tank.
4.11.12 Extracts from some of my Betta forum posts looking for help: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f59/very-recently-adopted-a-tail-biting-betta-never-owned-a-tail-biter-before-232195.html
Really need to refresh my Betta knowledge as soon as possible - thanks for your help
Hi all,
I have very recently adopted a Betta who is a known tail biter.
I have not had any fish for quite a few years now - and the only ones I've ever owned were Betta's. None of my Betta's ever ate their own tails though. So I have been obsessively searching the info to update my care knowledge and also read up on this self inflicted tail damage problem.
Hoping some of the very knowledgeable people here will be able to keep me on the right track with this little guy. I have learnt from other posters the importance of keeping photo logs to track progress so am doing this also.
He was originally purchased by his previous owner as a beautiful half-moon but his owner tells me that he quickly became a consistent tail biter and in the 10 months since she bought him he has routinely eaten more than half the length of his tail off. She tells me it does start to grow back but despite her best efforts he just always chomps it back down again (she had concluded that perhaps it is just too heavy for him and he likes it shorter).
I am keen to troubleshoot this problem behaviour and help this little guy to be happy and healthy if I can, hopefully breaking the tail biting habit and grow back his fins to their gorgeous natural size. But I am definitely not a Betta/fish expert. I have owned numerous Betta's in the past and none of them ever bit their own tail.
I am using the Seachem Prime Water Conditioner (as was his previous owner) and I was wondering if I could also start using the Seachem Stress Coat as part of his everyday water content and if that would help the growing process for his tail? Also looking for clarity about whether this product is used WITH the prime water conditioner, or instead of, or only ever meant to be used in a treatment/hospital tank to encourage repair of visible wounds instead of as an always included product after water changes.
His previous owner assures me that although he has been a tail biter since his day one with her - that he has never suffered fin rot as a result.
I have been shown the photos of how he looked when he was younger and she had just purchased him and at that time he had zero tail damage – his tail was full and beautiful so I know the behaviour started once he made the move.
Since I agreed to adopt him - I have been researching like crazy about ways people find work with their tail biters to break the habit and repair the tail.
Poor little guy. :(
What I know of his history:
He was purchased in Asia and then transported in a suitcase.
Since then he has been living in a glass bowl that is about 3 gallons (for about 9 months now).
No filter.
No heater.
At least once if not twice a week 100% water changes.
Owner’s feeding routine was giving him 4 Hikari baby pellets a day for food (usually given at four spaced out / different times of the day, so one pellet each feeding time) – on one day of the week though he was getting frozen blood worms.
He has had the 3 gallon bowl all to himself but I believe his glass tank was sitting next to another glass Betta bowl in his previous home.
I have taken him in and purchased the bowl he has been living in from his previous owner.
I am just about to place an order for completely new decorations such as plants / floating log / mirror etc to just experiment and gradually swap out one by one all of the decorations he currently has and has always had in his bowl and see if perhaps one of the objects in his environment has been the tail biting trigger.
I've also read that sometimes just moving the position of the tank or the lighting in the room etc can be enough to break the cycle (depending on why the fish is doing it) and so will wait a week before changing decorations to see if he is happier just from being in his new location inside my home.
Very keen to help this little guy repair his beautiful tail because the photos of him are truly stunning before he ate his fins back to kind of delta size but also because this behaviour doesn’t seem to be an indication of a happy, stable, content little fish.
From all my research, and in trying to pin point the WHY he is doing it - he does not fit the criteria of a 'highly aggressive' or 'skittish/neurotic' fish...so I'm leaning toward he may have always been too bored, too hungry or it is a hereditary bad habit. He seems like a happy guy, doesn’t act sluggish, or scared and is always eager to come straight up to the surface to greet me for food. Spends most of the day just calmly swimming all around this bowl.
I have read about the possible solution of getting him some companion fish to see if that keeps him more occupied and less interested in his tail but as he has never ever had tank mates before I would like to try all the more subtle changes first. If it gets to this point; How many companion fish would you say is a happy and safe mix in a 3 gallon tank with just one Betta? (and which companion fish would be most recommended).
So any other advice you can offer regarding successfully repairing his fins – but most importantly stopping the biting would be appreciated.
I am also interested to hear from Betta owners who swear by or swear off the Moss balls (both the Marimo live Balls and the Fluval imitations – and the pro’s and con’s of live v’s artificial in an uncycled tank).
Lastly, is anyone able to tell me if you have ever heard or seen any info regarding whether dried blood worms are known to cause constipation / digestive problems with Betta's. As compared with using the frozen blood worm cubes?
His previous owner loved him very very very very much and I’m sure she took very good care of him and all her other Betta's (he was the only tail biter she had) – She had tried many things to break his bad habit and is knowledgeable about Betta's but I still have my fingers crossed he may be able to be helped.
He has been with me a few days now and I have not actually caught him in the tail biting act – but I am preparing myself because I have been shown pictures by his previous owner of him with part of his tail still hanging out of his mouth!!! :eek:
Thank you very much for any help you can offer and also for sharing your time.
Reply to forum questions 4.11.12- Previous owner described his behaviour to me as 'being his own barber' because he always eats his tail back whenever it starts to grow back to healthy/normal size for a half moon.
I have not really read anything concrete on the subject though - as you say everyone seems to be experimenting with different solutions for every different little fish.

I am certainly not an expert and at this point I still feel this habit is so sad and he must not be happy - because I have not read anything that supports that it is 'natural or normal' for these guys to 'trim' their own tails to their desired lengths.
Have you seen anything supporting this behaviour as completely healthy in some of the Betta's who just don't want a huge tail?
-His previous owner told me she kept her house at a constant 24 degrees Celsius.

So before I took him in I turned my climate control unit setting to 24 degrees Celsius also, so as to reduce the stress induced by all the changes/moving house for him. I've been trying to keep everything as consistent as possible for him since taking him on so I could avoid a sudden shock death and also monitor his usual behaviuour.
He has been with me two nights now and despite his previous owner never doing so and feeling if the room temp stayed consistent so will his water - I have inserted a digital thermometer into his tank so I can monitor what I assume will happen even with the climate control set, thus being unavoidable changes throughout the day just based on night v's day time etc and sunlight/warmth/heat through the rooms windows at different levels throughout the day.
I realised today his water was still reporting too cool for him though - so I have pushed my room climate control aircon up to 26 degrees. Am hoping once the room warms up this will have a positive effect on his water temp rising.
-He has been in a 3 gallon tank.
By himself.
I've kept him in the exact same tank at my place.
He has a little house down the bottom that I am told he has always had and he likes to pop in and out of there, especially likes to sleep in there.
There is a little penny wort plant on top of the house.
And there is a fake floating lily that I have been told he likes to make bubble nests under.
I can see that at present there is not enough hiding, playing or resting space scattered inside the main space of the tank though as the shape of the tank means the base is quite small and fits only the sleeping house and the penny wort that sits on top of the house is too small to provide 'near surface' resting spots or for him to play/hide between foliage etc.
So I have today placed an online order for a few new things to switch around and experiment with which will hopefully arrive in about two weeks:
Exercise floating mirror
Mini floating Betta log with feeding hole
Different types of floating lily options
Variety of different types and sizes of silk plants to try out
Seachem stress guard
And I am going to keep an eye out for a different little sleeping house to sit on the bottom where his current one is that he really likes, just in case something about the shape or colour of the current one is upsetting to him.

Observation note Tuesday 6.11.12 My lounge room now reporting at 26 degrees.  This is the first day of blood worm feeding with me – seems like he absolutely loves them. Grabs them at the surface and even swims down to get them as they start to sink. Then later this night was his first water change with me. Used the Seachem Prime from his old owner, and did not put his green elephant  house back into his bowl because the space inside it is really small and I have read about tail biters who do it when they are inside their ‘cave’ or ‘house’ and removing that object can stop the tail biting trigger.  I am going to buy him another house but one that has a much bigger space inside so perhaps his fins feel less squashed or irritated when he tries to sleep inside it. After I changed the water I put him back into his bowl and he seems very happy and calm. 

Observation note Wednesday 7.11.12 Today I added some Seachem Stress Coat to his bowl (because my order for it arrived today).
He didn’t really react at all after I added it BUT later in the evening when I went over to talk to him he flared at me – which his owner says he never does and which I had never seen him do to us.
So I watched him for a while from a distance.  He actually seemed agitated. He was swimming all around, up and down, but his swimming seemed a bit frantic, not his usual cruising calmly swimming around. I was quite worried but did not know if perhaps this was him ‘at his best’, or not feeling hungry, or maybe with warmer water than he was use to so just acting ‘natural’….not sure if it was a good thing or bad thing….worried he was reacting negatively to the Seachem Stress I had added to his water earlier because I know that product  has never been used with him in the past.  Later on he did seem to settled down a little and go to rest/sleep on the bottom of his bowl like he usually does when the lights are turned off.

Observation note & forum post Thurs 8.11.12 He came up for his breakfast pellet, did not flare when he saw me and ate the pellet normally.  He seems calm again today.  His water is reporting colder this morning though as the sun is not coming through the window properly yet and the room is reporting at 25 degrees. Seems to be hanging out just kind of staying  near the surface of the water. I am staying home today so will keep a close eye on him,  The good news is – Since he arrived
here on Friday – I have not seem any damage to his tail, nor have I caught him attacking or even being interested in his tail.
But that could change because his owner said he only eats it once it starts to grow back past the length ‘he likes’…and at the moment, the tail is short and I can not actually see any ‘new growth’ or transparent ends that look like it is growing back, so, fingers crossed IF it tries to grow he will just leave it alone now. 
Delivery information for his new decorations that I ordered online looks like they will arrive on Monday which is great. Bad news is I can not locally source either of the food pellets that were recommended (Omega One Betta Pellets & New Life Spectrum Betta Pellets) – and Amazon suppliers will not ship either of them to my location.  Planning to have a look for a different source online that I can order and have them delivered from.
1) Does anyone know a reliable/trusted supplier online who will ship me the food products mentioned in the notes at a reasonable price and who accepts pay pal?
2) Can anyone tell me if it is safe to use an artificial  ‘Fluval Moss Ball’ (the fake version of the live Marimo Balls) inside a 3 gallon tank? I am asking because the product specs on the Fluval Ball say it treats tanks from 10-20 gallons, so am wondering if it would be ‘too strong’ in however it is supposed to work or harmful at all to put it inside a 3 gallon tank. (Just looking at it for entertainment purposes really – but if it does help with the water then that is a bonus).
3) Can anyone suggest the most likely reason  for the sudden change of ‘frantic/aggressive’  personality I saw on the night of Wednesday 7.11.12 – Could it have had something to do with the Seachem Stress liquid I added to his bowl – and from your experience, can you tell me if it does actually sound like it was a negative or positive behaviour change?
Thank you very much for your time and help.
From a very tired and worried Onbu.
Re: Betta Emergency: Pls help if you can, something has gone very wrong    11/26/12

Dear Bob,
Thank you so very much for responding.
Yes I have read that article, and I am aware that the ideal environment for a happy healthy Betta is a large tank, with a gentle filter system and a very consistent tank temperature maintained by an easily regulated heater.
These little guys have never had that in the past
<... the real issue here: Poor, highly variable environment>
 with their previous owner and they have only been with me a few weeks - the previous owner reported that neither of them have ever been sick in their time with her (not including the ongoing behaviour problem with the known tail biter).
So since moving into my place, their setup has been kept the same as it always has been:
- 3 gallon vase,
-no filter,
-no heater,
<... won't work>
-100% water changes twice a week
<Nor this>

-water dip stick tests I had done were reporting safe Ph/No3/No2/GH
- I had my house climate control set to 24 degrees Celsius before the week before the first fish moved in because when i inquired this is what the previous owner told me her house was set at. Soon after he arrived and I was checking on the thermometer I decided to insert and I realised that with my room at 24 degrees his water was not 24 and was way too cold for him, I then pushed my room setting up to 27 degrees Celsius and since then it seems their water stays roughly around 3 degrees under whatever the room setting is. Today though I pushed the room pre-set temp up to 31.5, and it was hot in here, but now it is night time I see even though the room is set to try and maintain temp 31.5 it is only reporting an actual temp of 26.5 right this minute.
I was really trying to keep things as consistent as possible for them straight after the move to me to reduce the stress, except for the one by one decor changes etc I have been trying with one of the fish to stop his tail biting habit, also the change of food brand and inclusion of SeaChem stress to both of their water.....And of course the recent introduction of the Indian almond leaves which was suppose to be a big positive but is the only 'what's just changed' variable I can identify for both fish.
Each fish got so sick so suddenly each time over the last handful of days that I did not retest with the dipstick the water that I quickly pulled them out of, I realise now I should have - but unfortunately when the heavy finned guy first was acting off we were assuming it was just the stress from the move because the tail biter appeared to be doing so very well here.
The heavy finned guy now looks and is acting completely fine - back in his 3 gallon bowl. His top fin is ragged but not clamped anymore and his appetite is better than ever. To be honest I do not know if his top fin actually just looked ragged like that when he arrived here or not, I didn't take serious enough notice because he wasn't acting sick and he came from a loving owner who reported perfect health. He is a very dark blue/black colour in most lights with red markings/stripes all through his fins which makes looking for 'dark fin edges' or 'red bleeding bits' near impossible :(
My little tail biter is still now sitting in his little half gallon recovery bowl. I am reluctant to move him to anything bigger because he is so weak and I don't want him unable to reach the surface for air.
I can report that this evening using my torch, I can clearly see a blood spot where the white fluff was coming off from around the edge of his bottom fin this morning (that is no longer so obviously hanging off).
With the torch his body does look like it has the metallic/gold shimmer that I've read about but i really don't know if that is actually just his natural colouring (he is a mustard).
He is still interested in food.
Due to the fact that he is more alive tonight than he was this morning I am wondering if the SeaChem ParaGuard could already be having a good effect on this fungus (this is fungus right?) and if he would further benefit from a stronger solution one hour dip bath tonight?
Or, if either of the other medications I mentioned in my first email would be better suited?
<None will work here... the real issue is...>

Very confused though because the heavy finned guy had no signs of white fluff etc, and he picked up so quick the day after I had him in the subtle salt solution a little while the night before when I had no other treatments on hand.
I'm sorry if this is way too much information, and for any typing errors I've missed that the iPad doesn't help with.
Thank you for your time and any help you can offer.
<Re-read... and provide suitable habitat. This is all that will work. BobF>
Re: Betta Emergency: Pls help if you can, something has gone very wrong    11/26/12

Okay thank you Bob, I understand - but as I am not going to be able to completely give them a whole new setup this evening do you have any advice for how I can best help this little guy get through the night?
<Mmm, stop feeding period, don't disturb this system at all...>
Is there anything at all that I could do to help him out of this very rough spot and feel better?
<Not really, no. Most any ameliorative action could be more stressful, stress-inducing than it's worth>
Or anything that i definitely shouldn't do to or for him right now?
<Nada. B>
Update: Re: Betta Emergency: Pls help if you can, something has gone very wrong    11/27/12
<There is no sense writing us Sarah... the issue has been clearly stated. The "world" these Bettas are in won't work. Pouring medicine/s in will not solve the basic problem here of improper environment.
Read till you understand this and act. Bob Fenner>

Dear crew,
I'm updating this email chain and asking for your expert help again because now that this fish can get off the bottom of his tank and float under the water surface I've noticed his body is kind of curved around...He has never looked like this before.
Now he seems to be calmly swimming/floating slowly in circles and his body looks pretty straight/normal, but when he tries to actually swim in a direction with intention he can not swim exactly where he wants to go because of this curved in the body that then becomes very pronounced (I've just watched him trying to get one little pellet).
Does this new symptom ring any bells with anyone regarding a specific treatment option?
Summary: The fish I am most worried about at the moment - has visible white fluff coming off his bottom fin and I can see red blood spots around the edges, the fin edge has holes in it.  with the torch he does look metallic/gold dust covered but I couldn't tell you if that is just part of his mustard colour.  He is a Betta, I found at the bottom of his tank lifeless two days ago. I moved him into a small recovery tank with SeaChem prime + stress, he was barely able to reach the surface for air. The next day I added SeaChem ParaGuard to his bowl. Today he can now float just under the surface water for a few minutes, still a little lopsided and weak and then just rests laying on his side on the bottom of the tank. Still has appetite. He has improved slightly since being put in the small recovery bowl with fresh water every twelve hours a doses of SeaChem ParaGuard - but I need to know if I can do anything else for him or if the ParaGuard is even the right thing to really help him???? The other fish is not acting sick today, in fact his activity levels and appetite are better than ever - but his top fin is still ragged looking.
Thank you very much for your time.
Request for tank advice please Re: Update: RE: Betta Emergency: Pls help if you can, something has gone very wrong... Still not reading, comprehending     11/28/12

This morning I have found a supplier I can get these from in about 3 days:
Can you please advise me whether either of these IQ models are actually ideal for a Betta or just a gimmick tank that would not suit a Betta due to the specs or the size/pump/filter/light etc
<They are not suitable... There's no heater for one... Why are you not reading where you've been referred to, reasoning this out for yourself?>
This morning I have found a supplier I can get these from in about 3 days after ordering:
Are either of these IQ models actually ideal for a Betta or just a gimmick tank that would not suit a Betta due to the specs or the size/pump/filter/light etc
<... ?>
I have the same question for the BiOrb tank models please (although I can not get them locally so they would have to be brought in from overseas suppliers which would take longer).
<Not suitable either. Search, read on WWM w the name...>

IF the IQ models are a good choice, would it be possible for you to please tell me whether the IQ3 water volume and filter etc is recommended or suitable for just one Betta or is the IQ5 being a little larger the only way to go.
I would also great if you are aware of the information regarding which accessories and filter products etc are required for this setup but do not come inside the box with the tank purchase so I can try to order these all at the same time.
I have spent hours glued to my laptop and reading information which routinely contradicts or disagrees with the last advice I've read - not to mention the multiple different aquatic advice forums I have turned to for genuine emergency help regarding treatment options; only on most occasions to be informed that these little fish will never be healthy because they are not in a heated, filtered, much larger cycled tank environment. I am not a fish expert, which is why I was immediately looking for help when they showed negative signs and I am now completely aware from my reading that Betta's will thrive in those perfectly regulated and consistant tank conditions but these two little guys have never lived in an environment like that (always a 3 gallon vase) and their previous owner reported zero past health problems and they've only been in my home for the last few weeks.
I feel absolutely terrible, and devastatingly guilty that these little guys are unwell - and whether they were already unwell when i took them in doesn't change how upset i feel looking at them and watching them every minute of the day worrying because they are very obviously unwell/unhappy.
I now know I should not have taken them in - i did it with the kindest intentions and thinking I was doing a really good thing because the person who owned them was leaving the country and could not find any loving homes who wanted to adopt them - I knew they were stress sensitive little creatures and so I went above and beyond to find out everything I could from their previous owner before they arrived at my place with regards to their history, environment and her care routines with them...I knew then that I could commit to her 100% water change twice a week schedule and I was sure that from reading and learning I might be able to tweak their water conditions and food brands etc to help them be even happier (especially the poor little guy who I found out later from the owner that he was an ongoing tail biter - I have invested tons of time trying to learn about the why's behind this behaviour and the different methods suggested for breaking the habit).
Anyhow, it is what it is now so I will try to rectify this series of my mistakes.
I do appreciate your time and advice.
Thank you.
<Please re-read WWM re Betta Systems... B>
Re: Request for tank advice please Re: Update: RE: Betta Emergency       11/28/12

Thank you for your reply.
When I spoke to the IQ3/5 distributor here I did confirm that I can also source the lid and heater for these tanks.
<Ah, good>
An owner who has had these models has mentioned that they felt the current in the smaller IQ3 tank could be too strong for a Betta, but as the system is the same in both units it seems less strong with the larger water volume of the IQ5.
I was just wanting to cross check this information with you in the event that you may have seen or knew about these models in action with happy healthy Bettas.
<Have not seen these systems, but others like them, and they work fine. Do keep the water level down a few inches to prevent the Betta jumping if not employing a complete cover. B>
Re: Request for tank advice please Re: Update: RE: Betta Emergency       11/28/12
Thank you so much for your feedback.
<Am happy to try/help you>
I have been reading articles on your webpage with specific regard to Betta care and 5 gallons (at a minimum) seems to be the consistently repeated  ideal water volume for a system housing a single Betta. The information I have found on the web seems to be that IQ3 comes in at about 2 Gallons and IQ5 is 3 gallons (please correct me if these details are wrong).
 I do understand that bigger is better, but would you be able to please let me know how you feel about these smaller 2 or 3 gallon filtered, heated setups - given the smaller water volume, is it still not an ideal environment for a Betta?
<I think you're right re these products volumes, and they're fine for housing a Betta>
 (or is it considered cruel even if the water specs are perfect because they just don't have enough room to swim/explore etc?).I'm sorry to keep asking you all these questions. But honestly, if the IQ models are too small to keep a happy healthy fish in then I will import something a little larger. In my original email to you I had enquired about the BiOrb range because I could see on the web they do come in larger sizes (9 gallons) to the IQ's.
<Search WWM w/ the product name and you'll see my, our opinions re>
The heavy finned little fish seems to be happier, more active, alert and hungrier than he has ever been. The little tail biter is sadly really sick - now at the bottom of his little hospital tank, still with visible fungus coming off and floating in the water etc.
<Re below... one last time (hopefully) the "disease/s" you're seeing here are due to environmental stress, and WILL NOT be cured w/ medicines. These compounds will further harm the fish. Bob Fenner>
I can see from this article http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SolnChartFWDisArt.htm  that you recommend the machelite green treatment (which is in the SeaChem Paraguard) for the fungal infections....
and then here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/aqbizsubwebindex/bettabiz.htm "For Betta's that are really suffering'¦ from chilling, poor water quality, improper nutrition, there are two "silver bullets" that I endorse, Aquatronic's BettaMax "¢ and Spectrogram "¢'¦ these are blends of antibiotics and more'¦ and they work'¦ on fin rot, bacterial conditions that have not progressed too far."
I can not get BettaMax from anyone here but when I looked up the active ingredients:"BettaMax Ingredients: 250 mg capsule, Nitrofurazone, Methylene Blue, PVP, Vitamins, NaCl, Sulfas: Methazine, Diazine and Merazine
Diseases: Specific for Bettas, guppies, and all fancy fin fish. Treats listlessness, poor appetite, splits and holes in fins and tail, poor colour, poor water quality, vitamin deficiency, bacterial infections, fungal infections"
I see that BettaMax has Methylene blue in it which I'm pretty sure I did see on the shelf of a petstore where I live. Would you recommend that I go and grab the bottle of Methylene blue, and then could you advise me of a safe dose?
I was actually going to place an order for JBL Fungol and JBL Ektol Cristal this morning because someone recommended using them together and I can get it here in 3 days - but only if you thought these might help at all, seeing as the Seachem Paraguard has not lead to a quick recovery (I am aware the Paraguard is suppose to be a 21 day treatment though).
I have been reading emails from other people to you who have had fish exhibit very similar symptoms but could not find anyone who ended up writing back saying "I did this....<fill in the blank>....and then he got better over night!" :(Thank you for your help.
Re: Request for tank advice please Re: Update: RE: Betta Emergency       11/28/12
<Not recommended. B>

I can also get this here, it says it will attack both gram negative and gram positive bacteria but I don't understand the science behind how it does it."JBL Furanol-THE prime medication against external and internal bacterial infections. The effective ingredient, Nifurpirinol, works faster and more powerfully than classical antibiotics. Is absorbed by affected organs within a few hours and kills bacteria faster than other medications. Heals open ulcers, protruding eyes and dropsy in the early stages.JBL Furanol: is a high-potency preparation which effectively combats most gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria such as Aeromonas, Corynebacterium, Columnaris, Streptococci and many others with the exception of fish tuberculosis. JBL Furanol is well-tolerated and is easily taken in through the gills. After only a few minutes, effective therapeutic concentrations can be detected in all organs. Symptoms : Ulcerous, blood-shot ruptures and crater-like depressions (common in coldwater fish), wounds, „nibbled“ fins, swellings, loss of areas of skin or flaking are usually signs of bacterial infection. Distended stomach (dropsy) with protruding scales, protruding eyes, darkening of the skin colour, abnormal swimming movements and wasting away are among the symptoms which may appear in advanced stages of disease."
I know this little fish did not have a good chance to stay healthy in his inadequate setup, but please: If you can please advise me how best to treat him now that he is sick I would really appreciate some guidance on which of the meds I have access to for him could maybe help - and also at which doses they should be used.
Thank you very much for your time.

Sick Betta, the usual inadequate env.     11/19/12
Hi there
I got my Betta about two months ago and all has been well. This morning when I came in to work, I saw he is not doing so well. He is very listless - just lying at the bottom of his bowl or hiding away in his plastic barrel.
<Mmm, is this system heated, filtered? Too likely not>
Every so often, though, he swims around wildly in the bowl.

He seems to have some kind of whitish layer or film over his body - especially visible on his dark head. It does not seem to be spots - more like a continuous kind of layer. His fins are also clamped against his body. The only good thing is that he is still eating at least! I tried doing some research but it seems like his symptoms fit almost all ailments and I am not sure whether this is bacterial or fungal.
<Is environmental at root>
 Please help! I am in South Africa and we do not have too many good pet shops around here - the one I bought the fish from did not even tell me half of the things I am finding out with my research today! Point I'm trying to make is that it is difficult to find things like kits to test water quality and also certain medicines so please also tell me what is the best way to look after the fishy without being able to test the water. I will do a 50-90% water change daily from now on (at least I use distilled water as I work in a lab!)
<Don't use distilled... Please read here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm
and the linked files above... till you understand the all-too-common failing here.>
Kind regards,
<And you, Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Betta     11/21/12

Thanks for the reply. The system was a Betta bowl by Tetra (you would imagine you could trust a manufacturer to know what is appropriate)
<Ahh, my time in the trade spans way past to when U. Baensch sold (1976) the co. to Warner Lambert, to others in turn, to its present much poorer state... Am very sure the originator of the company would NOT have made such products>
 so no, it is not heated or filtered. I was not aware that it was necessary and was also not informed by the pet shop from whom I bought the bowl and the fish.
<All too typical I'm afraid...>
I have since changed the water to tap water with a conditioner in and have the bowl heated to 27,5 degrees. I am working on getting a heated and filtered system.
 He seems more responsive but now has trouble eating. He grabs his food (Betta pellets) but then spits it out. This worries me as he was still eating fine on Monday.
<Not to worry overmuch... the feeding/eating will improve w/ time... Bettas are actually very tough>
The whitish layer is still present on his skin - might be tiny tiny spots.
I treated for Ich yesterday as the pet shop suggested but it does not look better today. His fins are still clamped and he still secludes himself even though he is more responsive. What else could possibly be the problem - or will it just take time to get back to normal now that his conditions have improved.
<Just improving the environment, elevating the temperature for a while (a week or two) should suffice>
How often should i do a water exchange while the bowl is still unfiltered?
<Any time there's any detectable ammonia>
Kind regards,
<Cheers, BobF>

Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!    8/11/12
I have looked all over your website, but I'm still not sure what is wrong with my Betta, Blue, other than fin rot. My kids and I are very attached to the little guy.
Blue lives in a 1 gallon hexagonal tank (pet store where I bought him said this was a good size) that has always had a filter, without any other fish.
His current filter is a Hagen Elite mini filter.
<A useful appliance here>
His tank has gravel on the bottom, and I recently got rid of his fake plants and added real ones when he got sick. I usually do partial water changes weekly and full water changes monthly.
<I would never change all the water>
I always use bowl buddies when I change his water. I didn't know that I was supposed to test his water, so I haven't, but I usually let it sit out for a day or so and use the bowl buddies. His tank is usually at 80 degrees.
<Usually? Is there a heater?>

We have had Blue for almost a year, and he has always been a beautiful, happy fish until recently. After a power outage, his bowl got very dirty and he got sick.
<Easily understood>
I changed his water and noticed that he had a reddish spot on his body and also some blue had changed color to a brownish, rusty color. He also stopped eating. I wasn't sure if he had velvet,
<No... just environmental... where would a protozoan infestation come from?>

but I was pretty sure that he had some fin rot. The attached pictures show Blue's current condition. If they aren't helpful, I'll try to take some more that are clearer.
I went to a pet store and they recommended Melafix.
<Worse than worthless. See WWM re>
After 2 days, and Blue looking worse, I went to another pet store that told me to use Melafix and aquarium salt.
The next day I did a full water change because his water didn't look good and went to another pet store, which recommended Melafix (go figure) and Pimafix.
<... both API products are scams... high mark up/profit items... that do nothing to help>
In addition, I bought some plants to add to his tank. I did another full water change 2 days later. I also wrapped his tank in a towel because I read on a Betta blog that it will help some diseases and help maintain tank temperature, currently 82 degrees.
After a week, he just looked worse, so in desperation, I bought some Tetracycline and dissolved it in 5.5 1/2 tsp of water so I could figure out how to dose a gallon fish tank. I did another full water change, rinsed everything in the tank to get rid of the Melafix, and refilled the tank with water directly from the tap, a Bowl Buddies tablet, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp of the diluted Tetracycline.
<... I hope so... the HCl radical will drop the pH too much too soon>
The next day, more of his tail was gone
and he just looked worse; he has a reddish brownish sore where part of his tail used to be. He may be gasping a bit. He stays close to the surface of the tank and frequently takes breathes of air. He doesn't appear to like the light. He may have eaten a pellet today - I tried Hikari food.
I'm not sure what I should do at this point. Should I stop the Tetracycline and go buy Maracyn
<A worthy choice to try here. Erythromycin>
(one pet store told me not to use)? Although money is tight, I'll put him in a bigger tank if you think it will make a difference.
<Would be better. What this fish needs is a stable, optimized environment... this is gone over and over on WWM>
I did buy some glass pebbles
<Of no functional value>
to cover the gravel with in case he is hurting himself on the gravel, and I also bought some Aponogeton bulbs to add to his tank. I think one of his other plants is a Java fern, but I'm not sure what the other one is.
How can I help Blue?
Thank you so much for your advice.
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!    8/12/12
Hi Bob,
<Hey Kerry>
I keep a thermometer in his tank to monitor his water temperature. When it drops a bit or when the room is cold, I plug in a small bowl heater until his tank reaches 80 degrees
<Mmm, really not good enough. DO look into a small thermostatic heater... there are a few companies nowayears that make then for one-two gallon systems...>
. It is almost always within 78-82 degrees, unless we have a power outage in the winter, When that happens, I wrap his tank with a blanket to try to keep him as warm as possible.
 Is the Marineland Eclipse system with a BioWheel a good choice for a 5 gallon tank?
<It is>
Forgive me for asking again, but do I stop using Tetracycline and switch to Maracyn, Maracyn 2 or Erythromycin?
<Yes I would... change a good 50% of the water out, allow a few days to go by (w/ carbon added to the filter flow path if possible), then dose w/ one gallon's worth (a pill splitter is useful here) of the Mardel product (the Maracyn)>
 Blue is still alive, but more of his tail is gone. He seems to be a bit more active today, but not an unusual amount. Should I do a 50% water change when I add the new medicine?
I've never used a water test kit before. Do they tell you how to adjust if levels are off?
<Not often or really; but this information is readily available on WWM>
We also have 2 African Claw frogs, regular size, in a 10 gallon tank. So far, they are great, if a bit boring (my son's school was going to flush the tadpoles, so we took them).
My children, my dog (who is strangely attached to Blue), and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
<All certainly  welcome. BobF>
Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!    8/12/12

Update: I bought a 10 gallon tank for Blue.
<Nice! B>

Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!    8/12/12
The fish tank came with Maracyn and Maracyn T-C, but both are expired. Is it still safe to use these?
<Yes... antibiotics only lose part of their potency w/ age. B>
Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!     8/12/12

The fish tank I bought (used) comes with an undergravel filter set-up and a
Whisper 20 Power Filter. Should I keep these or buy and Aquaclear filter?
<Would be better to have both filters, yes>
 Is it o.k. to use these for a while until I can better afford a different filter?
<Ah yes. B>
Thanks for all your help.
Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!    8/15/12

Hi Bob,
<Hey there>
Sorry to bother you again, but I need more advice. Blue is in a 10 gallon tank with an under gravel filter and a Power Whisper filter with the carbon taken out and replaced with a bonded filter pad cut to size. I let the tank cycle and heat to the correct temperature before I put Blue in. Once he was in the tank, I immediately started Maracyn and Maracyn 2. I have been testing the water a few times a day because the PH was very high.
<How high?>
 I finally got the PH to an acceptable level, but the Nitrate level was a bit high
and the water looked cloudy.
<Yet, it's cycled?>
 I did a 25% water change to be on the safe side. Blue seems to really like the extra space, and his gills don't look as swollen as they had been.
Although he is mainly swimming near the surface of the water, he is not sucking in air as often as he had been. However, his tail is gone. I hope it will grown back, and his sores don't look changed. His other fins are looking more brown than blue.
My question is how often should I do a water change?
<... after the system is thoroughly cycled... once a week. See WWM re>
 Is there something I should be added to lower the Nitrate level?
<... please understand, I have no idea what the present level is...>
 Is it o.k. to use PH Down
<... nor the pH...>
 (I already did, but I want to make sure I should going forward), and does it matter that our water is soft?
<... it does. See WWM, Neale's articles re>
<This I CAN respond to: Welcome. B>
Re: Very Sick Betta Fish - Please Help!... Need... to READ     8/15/12

Hi Bob,
I think part of the problem is my confusion. I'm getting PH, Nitrite, and Nitrate confused. PH was reading a dark blue, but is now a 7.0. Nitrate is fine, Nitrite is showing "caution" on the test strip (.5).
<See WWM re... Toxic>
 The Total Alkalinity on the test strip is reading "Moderate" (80).
<Not a worry for this species>
Everything else is reading as it should.
 Our water is actually hard, but we use a water softener with salt.
<... See WWM... I'd bypass this exchanger>
 I'm not sure, after reading Neale Monks soft water article, if there is anything I should be doing, since we soften our hard water. I'm also not sure what I should be doing about the Total Alkalinity reading and the Nitrite reading, if anything.
Do I need to buy a different test? I have the drops for Ammonia and PH. I'm testing the rest with the 6 in 1 Test strips.
<Test strips are largely worthless. Neither accurate nor precise. PLEASE learn to/search before writing us>
I also noticed, tonight, that the plants and ornaments in the tank appear to have a white fuzz on them.
<Too much food, waste, not enough filtration, circulation, water changes>
Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to get a good picture of this. I shook the fuzz off as best I could and increased the flow on the filter. Is this algae? Should I use Algae Destroyer
<... no, toxic>
Advanced on it (received from previous tank owner). The water didn't look cloudy until this evening; it was perfectly clear yesterday and today. The temperature in the tank has been a consistent 80 degrees. Do I need to wrap the tank in a towel to darken it? We are not using any extra lighting.
I'm not sure what to do about the "fuzz". Any advice?

Cold Betta splendens?     7/1/12
Hello! This is my baby, Charlie. I've had him for a bit over a year, now (and the picture was taken five months ago, by the way). Unfortunately, I'm going to have to admit I had fallen for those malicious lies telling me that those small, boring tanks advertised as "Betta tanks" are great, but now I realise they are NOT the way to go. So, this weekend, I went and got him a five gallon tank, with lots of plants, a floating Betta log, and a small heater I'll put in for him soon. However, he is still  in his smaller tank, and to my horror when I let a thermometer sit in there, it was only seventy degrees! And to think he's been acting lively all this time! He's still in there because it hasn't yet been 24 hours, but the thing is, I don't know what to do about that. You see, a few weeks ago, I noticed a small, grey-ish bump (about the size of how big a dot would be created if I took a pen to the tip of my finger, not big at all) and it didn't effect him in the slightest. I didn't know if it was caused by a collision with the lid of his tank, seeing how he gets VERY eager when it's food time some days.
Yesterday, before I set up the tank, he was doing just as fine as ever, we do the wiggle dance, you name it, he's great! I've even noticed he understands  the word "behind" now when I say it, because sometimes in his eagerness he loses where his food pellet is, and it goes behind his head (other times, causing me to giggle at him, it goes on top of his head, and he just keeps staring at the surface of the water until I can get him to come to some senses!) Anyway, since the tank would be heavy after I got it all filled with water and everything, I decided just to set it up on the same chest of drawers as Charlie's current tank is on. After I got done, he acted fine for a bit, pigged out on his pellets (however, they are NEW pellets, he's had the same ones since I got him in April of last year, they may be
the cause of what I'm about to explain), but then he began acting weird. I noticed vertical stripes on his gill plates, but today they're gone. He's very lethargic, as in he's sleeping a LOT, I have to slowly wake him up because I'm so worried, and he does the wiggle dance with me for a bit just as usual, follows my finger a few times, and then darts back behind his plant at the bottom of the tank, under some of the "leaves" all of the sudden, which is completely unusual. He seems a bit pale, but not much, he's still got some red but it's dulled down a bit. Earlier, he just completely stopped swimming while we were "playing" toward the top of his water, clamped up his fins (they've been clamped anyway since I noticed the stripes, but he flares up when he sees me, not out of aggression either), and just sat there. His eyes still followed me around, so he wasn't asleep.
He just stopped. When he isn't sleeping, he keeps circling around the top of the water
and breathing, and it's quick, not like the big, hearty gulps he usually gets. He was also yawning, and moving his head the way that Bettas do when they're swallowing (or eating, really I've no idea) their food after they get some in their mouth (hopefully you know what I mean!), and the left side of his head brushed gently against the side of his tank, which he never does. The bump I mentioned earlier is located off-center of his head, toward the right, and about two millimeters away from the top of his eye.
Was it the new food?
 Should I fast him today and tomorrow?
<A good idea>
Should I go ahead and put him in the new tank, so he will get better, or should I wait until he's back to normal?
<I would place your Betta, with his existing water in the new tank, and slowly (a couple degrees F. per day) raise the temp. to the upper 70's, low 80's F>
Or will that happen unless I put him in the new tank?
<Can't say>
 Please help, if you can! Thank you in advance for your time, I'm sorry I basically wrote you a book, but the more details the better in these cases!
<Ah yes. Bob Fenner>

Rescue Betta... not getting Betta?    6/23/12
Hello! Recently I was in one of the retail pet stores and I happened to stop in and look at their Bettas (force of habit). I was so heartbroken by the conditions (some dead, velvet, lots of fin rot... all emaciated.)
<Sad to experience such apathy>
So I took pity on one of the double tails and brought the little guy home.
Now I'm currently waiting on bigger tank while I treat him for fin rot in the bowl I used to use. Its a one gallon bowl (small I know, the bigger one is on the way.), it has a small heater but no filtration.
<Do monitor water quality, keep new/stored water on hand for change outs>

I started treating him with Maracyn Two and aquarium salt this past Saturday. I waited until Tuesday to do a water change and only did 50%. He started eating on Monday, which looked like a good sign... and the tips of his fins were no longer dark black. Since then I've been doing 50% water  changes everyday, adding more salt and M2 but today I noticed he has a white stripe down either side of his body, faded coloring and almost appears to have velvet on his head. It is possible he came home with that in early stages (the velvet) but I am unsure.
<The fish would be dead if this was Amyloodinium>
 I wanted to include pictures but the stripe really isn't coming out every time I take one.  I'm worried that I might be making this poor rescue Betta ever sicker than he was at the store. You can also see his fins are a little rattier but as there is no black edges I'm almost wondering if he's doing it himself out of stress?! I don't want to start over medicating the poor guy and it may just be that I need a second opinion on what's wrong with him. Please help!
<Need to monitor ammonia, nitrite. These were and are probably the root cause of trouble here. Bob Fenner>

Betta Question; bowl, rdg.     6/17/12
Hello! I've had my Betta fish for 9 months now and he is housed in a one gallon tank.
<Sans filter and thermostatic heater I take it... the too common situation, and source of trouble>
I'm not sure quite how long he's had this problem but I recently noticed it's escalation. I'm not sure if he is constipated or has a bacterial infection or something else. I change the water weekly and treat it with BettaSafe and feed him TopFin Color Enhancing Betta Bits, about 3-5 pellets a day. I didn't know until recently (about last week) that I shouldn't be cleaning his habitat and decorations with soap but I've since then stopped doing that. I don't want my fish to die or be permanently damaged. How should I proceed?
<... read>
Thank you in advance for the advice and have a nice day.
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

SOS! CT's stomach swelling... Betta, rdg.      6/7/12
Hello! I will make it easy and start with the background of my crowntail, Stanley. I bought him almost two weeks ago at Wal-mart with my boyfriend who also bought a crowntail. I started out with a ½ gallon tank
<... with filtration and heating.
Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
that I changed him into that night. I treated the water and made sure the temperature in his jail cell of a cup that he came in and the temperature in the new ½ gallon tank were the same. I added dark blue gravel, a Betta leaf hammock, and a small cave for him to hide in. He lived in that for just over a week and in that amount of time the tips of some of his fins were curling and it began to worry me.
<... nitrogenous waste accumulation... burn.... Uncycled system>

I never know what to belief when I search for answers online so I treated him with a small amount of Bettafix

to help improve his fins. Two days later I did a 50% water change using Aqua Culture Betta Water. He has always been energetic, curious, and friendly. Ill spare all of the details of his health and just say he seemed quite happy after I moved him into his slightly bigger home. Two nights ago I moved him into a new 10 gallon tank with a lid, light, filter,
and soon an air pump with an air
stone. The filter causes a current too strong for him so I pull the tube out of it a little bit to lessen the flow and only run it for a few hours a day.
I have been doing a lot of research since the day I got him and frankly, it has all made me a bit paranoid about him falling ill. The day before I moved him from the ½ gallon to the 10 gallon I noticed his stomach seemed a bit swollen. I had been feeding him 3-6 Betta pellets a day, spread out by am and pm and supplementing with freeze-dried bloodworms as a treat once every couple of days. I realized that I probably overfeeding him and gave him only two pellets the next morning and none until the next afternoon. I thought that he might just be constipated or bloated from eating too much. Although he has a healthy appetite, plenty of energy, smooth colorful scales, and for the most part(minus the slight curling) nice long crowntail fins. His water has stayed between 76 and 80 over the course of time I've had him with a gH of 120-180 ppm, kH of 180-240, ph of 7.5, and Nitrate/Nitrate very minimal, if not none at all. When I moved him from the ½ gallon to the 10 gallon, I also moved him from my boyfriends house (which kept the tank around 76-78 f) to my house which stays a little warmer (keeping the water from 78-82).
<... needs a thermostatic heater>

He also went from the higher end gH and kH to the lower end I mentioned in his new 10 gallon tank. His new tank did have an Anacharis but it seemed to be rotting in some places and I was worried that it might have infected my fish with something from Petco (where I bought the live plant) and caused him to bloat. Today it seems like his swollen stomach has definitely become more obvious. Im really worried he might have a bacterial infection or a parasite. I removed the plant as soon as I noticed it was bigger. He also has a large silk plants for hiding in and swimming through, his leaf hammock ( which he likes to lay on, its very cute!), his cave, a bigger rock type of decoration for him to hide behind and swim through, and a lily bulb that I hope will grow. When I first got home tonight he seemed very lethargic like he didn't feel well but after a good 15 minutes of me freaking out thinking he's going to die, I turned on his light to examine his swelling and he began to swim around normally, although he did start swimming up and down, all around the tank quite quickly. I thought this was kind of unusual. He's still doing it a little bit. I grabbed a pea leftover from dinner last night, ran it under warm water until it was no longer cool from the refrigerator and cut it up in small bits for him. I've heard this is good for constipation as they cannot digest the plant matter. We will see if this has any effect on his swelling, however he didn't eat much of it at all. He seemed more preoccupied with swimming around the parameter of the tank. He seems happy though and I finally got him to flare for me a few minutes ago, which calmed me down a bit. Maybe he's not feeling as bad as I thought he was. At any rate, his swelling looks uncomfortable and unhealthy and I want to save him before he gets dropsy and its too late. I know I've only had him for a short time but I love him and he's not just a fish he's an intelligent beautiful tropical fishy friend that actually gets excited to see me! I want him to have a long happy healthy life. I hope I have given enough detail to help you with your assessment! Please help me figure out what is wrong with him! I really look forward to hearing back from you. J
Thank You so much!
<Please read... Betta splendens are easily kept given what little they require... Bob Fenner> 
SOS! CT stomach swelling (Pictures)... Betta hlth.     6/6/12

I forgot to attach pictures!
I hope the links work and I hope the pictures help!
<Not really.>
Sorry for the poor quality. It's hard to capture a fish's picture with an iPhone.
<Please can you just send regular pictures attached to your e-mails (and please keep them no bigger than 500 KB or so, crop them or downsize them as necessary, e.g., with iPhoto). Your last message seemed to be a bunch of links. Given the number of e-mails we get, we don't have time to follow through e-mails to image and video hosting sites. Thank you for your understanding! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: SOS! CT stomach swelling (Pictures)  6/6/2012
Okay sorry for the links. I hope I did this right. I had to get on the desktop because my iPhone wouldn't attach multiple photos to email.
Im not sure if they're the right size. Im sorry if they're not!
Thanks again!
<Umm, pls read where you were referred... re Betta system needs... B>

No heaters, filters...

SOS! CT stomach swelling (Pictures)... Still unheated, uncycled sys.... not reading     6/10/12
I don't mean to be difficult but I tried to find the Bob Fenner book
<Not a book; a web page, here:
Let's cut to the chase. Most Bettas get sick because they're kept badly. I honestly can't remember your previous correspondence, so forgive me if we've been over this. Bettas need an aquarium (not a bowl) 5 gallons or bigger, with a heater and a filter. That aquarium needs weekly 25% water changes, and all new water needs to be treated with a good quality conditioner that removes chlorine, chloramine, ammonia and copper. Next up, they should be fed a variety of foods, but sparingly. Flake is fine, but occasional offerings of live brine shrimp help to minimise problems from bloating, and cooked peas will be taken, especially if the Betta is starved a few days beforehand. Bloodworms are taken, but do seem to cause problems for many fish, so I wouldn't recommend them.>
you suggested and I couldn't seem to find it anywhere on wet web or anywhere else. Also, is this what you mean when you said to read what I was referred?
<Bob's point was that if you read that article, looked to see how your care differs from how Bettas should be kept, the difference will likely explain the problems. Fix what you're doing wrong, and medicate if needed, and things should improve. To cover all eventualities, let's recap. Bloating through constipation typically reveals itself as abdominal swelling but the fish itself is otherwise alert and active. It may have trouble keeping its balance, but won't lack energy. The scales on its body should be lying more or less flush against the body. Bloating through Dropsy (Oedema) is more serious and means the internal organs are failing somehow, and fluids are building up inside the body cavity. Such fish demonstrate obvious stress and lethargy, they aren't able to swim much, if at all, they react slowly to stimuli, and the scales on their bodies rise up from the body so when viewed from above the body looks like a pinecone. Constipation can be treated with Epsom salt and heat, plus high fibre foods (ideally peas); see the "Floaty, Bloaty Goldfish" article for more. Dropsy-type infections are rarely curable in small fish like Bettas, and euthanasia makes more sense.
In the meantime, do peruse the Betta health, disease questions we've already answered at WWM; as you can see, we've gotten a gazillion of them already, and very often the causes are the same:
See the links at the top of the page? Use them to browse back through other answered queries as well as relevant articles.>
I was really hoping that you could read the background info I gave you and look at the pictures to make an experienced assessment of what might be wrong with him.
<Send a useful photo around 500 KB in size, and we'll do our best. But links, YouTubes and suchlike aren't much help. We're volunteers here -- I've just got back from a short vacation, and I have to start unpacking and then cooking in a little bit, but I want to spend a few minutes here at WWM helping out any urgent questions. I hope usefully!>
I understand my tank isn't totally set up how it should be just yet. I plan on buying a heater soon.
<Ah! There you go. Bettas are tropical fish. Buy the aquarium first, then the filter, then the heater, and only when they're all set up and been running a few days (ideally 2-4 weeks, with you cycling the filter with ammonia) BUY THE FISH. We do tell people this again and again, and as you're learning, rushing forward and skipping the first few weeks cycling
ends up creating problems down the line. Do also bear in mind that randomly medicating fish will likely kill it even faster. Just as with human medicines, fish medicines are all poisons of some sort, and used improperly, do more harm than good.>
All I really want to know is whether my Betta has an infection, parasites or only constipation.
<<... the poor env. B>>

Please help!:)
<Read, review, react. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: SOS! CT stomach swelling (Pictures)    6/10/12
Thank you so so much! You've been extremely helpful. You're awesome!
Peace love and all that stuff. :)
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Black Stuff on Betta's head; likely env.      5/24/12
First off all, I've looked through your articles (They're kind of hard to read)
<? Reading level? Some aspect that's incomplete? What?>

 but it's really hard to find anything about black stuff appearing on a Betta's head, so I thought I'd just write you. Hope you're still willing to answer questions? Anyway, I have an orange Betta (uncreatively named Orangie) that I bought from Wal-mart. He was the healthiest of the fish and I've never seen an orange Betta before, so I bought him. I've been keeping him in a triangular tank that's not quite one gallon, and have been changing the water weekly. He doesn't have a filter because the one I bought for him was underwater, and the coals or whatever the filter uses seemed to be bothering him, as he'd dart around a lot. I took it out and he was fine.
Well last week I noticed that his tank was a bit filthy, so I went to change it out.
<? What? Is this system filtered, heated? Complete change-outs are a bad idea... for reasons gone over and over...>

During the process of moving him out of the tank he decided to jump onto our floor, where he remained for a minute or two as I desperately tried to get him back into the cup with water in it. After putting him back in the changed tank, he was in shock for 5 minutes (sitting at the bottom and gasping, not doing anything else) then he was fine--back to attacking his food, swimming around, etc. Luckily my mom had just mopped the floor the night before this, so it shouldn't have been too dirty. I put stress coat and a couple of crystals of salt into his tank, hoping to ease his stress.
<Not likely>
But after that, he started darting around the tank and rubbing against stuff. Figuring the only stuff he'd get exposed to on our floor is bacteria, I did a complete water change and used Melafix as a soap to clean the tank with (as I heard it's better for sterilizing tanks than treating fish) and he was fine for the day. But the next day he's darting around  and rubbing against stuff again. I have a small x30 magnifying lens that was supposed to be used in a telescope, but it's better used to look at things up close. So I got that and a flashlight and started looking at him up close, and I see there's black stuff all over his head. It's on his lips and is all over the bottom side of his head. He's no longer attacking his food like he used to, though he's still eating.
<Poisoned by the new water, change>
I've attached three pictures. One (really terrible and blurry) picture from when I first got him, where you can see that his head was mostly orange.
The others is of him now, better quality than the first. Ignore the white spot on his mid-area in that one picture--I believe that's something on  the outside of his tank, because I don't see it actually on him. As you can see, his tail is also deteriorating, I have three things I can use on him:
Melafix, salt and a fungus stuff I bought from Wal-mart that's not necessarily made for Bettas. If it's a fungus, that might could work, but I'm afraid to treat him with it in the event that it's something else, as that's what made my last fish (a pretty white one with blue fins) die. I hope you can shed some light on what is bothering Orangie.
<... such color/markings are almost always environmental and/or genetically determined... I suspect the former in your case. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
Bob Fenner> 

Re: Black Stuff on Betta's head    5/24/12
They're hard to read because they're big blocks of text. Anyway, is there anything I can do to make him feel better? He's still darting around, rubbing against stuff and laying pathetically on the bottom of the tank.
He occasionally flare his gills when sitting idle.
<Please read where you were referred...>
Re: Black Stuff on Betta's head    5/24/12
If you're referring to the link you gave, I saw really no information on how to help him after a "water poisoning."  I use well water, not tap water, and it's the exact same type of water he's been hanging around in for months. I let the water sit out for a day or so. And the thing is, he's been without a heater or direct light for months and has been fine. I had a thermometer in the tank and was always making sure it sat at the right temperature, which it did.
<... my young friend; no. Betta splendens IS a tropical species, AND need bio-filtration....>

Also, this: What does it mean? <Poisoned by the new water, change> Is the comma out of place or are you telling me to change his water again?
<Keep reading. The linked files above the citation. B>

Betta fish emergency – 05/13/12
Hello I emailed you a few years ago when my Betta was sick and you helped a lot, now he's suck again and I really need help with him. I left for college so my parents have been taking care of him... They didn't realize that the water conditioner they bought didn't remove chlorine. He's been in non treated water (changed frequently) for 3 months! I went right away and got the right chemicals and put him in the clean water but he's just laying on his side unable to get to the surface for air. I'm not sure if he can move his left fins. Is there anything I can do?!
<Not really. If he has been poisoned, then frequent, regular water changes and good water quality will provide the best conditions possible for recovery. Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/bettasysart.htm
Warmth, filtration, adequate space are all important.>
Thanks so much for your help! Jj
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Betta Very Sick 5/2/12
My Betta Kasan, has fin rot and it is severe, due to ammonia burn,

at least is what I think. He is set up in a 5gal. tank, with pad & foam filters, water temperature at 78´F and I check the ammonia level about twice a week and always come out at 0. Back a couple of weeks ago a left for a 5 day vacation, the day before I left I did a 50% water change, the new water I prepared had (like with every water change, except that I normally do only a 25% water change) 15 drops of API Tap Water Conditioner and 10 drops of Top Fin Water Clarifier. I left a friend in charge of him, but probably soon after or some time while I was away the pump from the filter stopped working, and my friend didn't put attention, so it made the ammonia level go  *through*  the roof. I saw this when I was back that Kasan has no fins!!! I was mortified!!!
Immediately I did a 50% water change with all the preparations mentioned above, but I added 2.5ml of ParaGuard,
<What for?>

 I did this for 2 weeks, all seemed fine, until this morning, he wouldn't eat (he always has 1 pellet of Aqueon Betta Food in the morning, he is always waiting for me to get up in the morning for his food), not even when I offered a Tetra Bloodworm Freeze Dried Food, and I noticed something coming out of his belly, but I thought he was going #2, but tonight that I came back I saw this thing is longer and he seems sluggish, but this might be that it is night, but it still has me very worried!
What is it? Is he ok? Can I do something?
Please help!
Ana & Kasan
<Is fecal material... Please see (search, read on) WWM re Betta Health and nutrition. Bob Fenner>

Male Betta got through divider   4/25/12
I had two male Bettas in a 10 gallon with a divider. It turned out that the divider was not secure and this morning the crowntail was in with the Halfmoon. The halfmoon's tail is torn up and he has superficial (no blood)  wounds on both his sides. He is acting normal again and even flaring. I am planning to increase the temp to 85F from 80F. There is about a tablespoon of marine salt in the 10 gallon and I do have some Maracyn, but I do not think I need to use it, at least yet.
 Any idea on how long until his ragged fins grow back???
<A few weeks under ideal circumstances>
 Or any ideas of anything else I can do,
<Nothing more I would do here>
 besides not keeping Bettas together with a divider as obviously things can happen. The crown tail is now in a cup for the next couple of days as he may be rehomed. Thank you!!!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Betta with ragged clamped tail   3/18/12
Hello everyone,
I have gone through some many websites and forums before someone told me about you guys.
I have a Betta that haven't been doing well since a week ago. I used to have a Betta, Loretta (it's a male). He was given to my boyfriend as a gift but I have been taking care of him. He lived in a fish bowl (come with the fish as a gift and we didn't bothered getting a tank for him), about 2 litre of water.
<Far too small.>
I changed his water once every two weeks (sometimes three weeks), 100% water change. He is always fine but he jumped out of his bowl a while ago and died. It happened when my boyfriend and I were away for a trip for three weeks and when his sister changed the water, she put the water right to the top of the bowl which I guess that's how Loretta managed to jump out of his bowl.
<Perhaps. In any event, Bettas are "jumpy" and should not be kept in uncovered aquaria.>
Anyway, now I got myself a new Betta for about three weeks already (with a tank this time, about 30L but at the moment it is 20L full). I didn't go through the nitrogen cycle and have been doing 100% water change (which I guess I shouldn't have done either of those).
<Actually, changing all the water won't do any serious harm, so long as the filter media stays wet. When cleaning the tank, do nothing more than rinse the filter media in a bucket of aquarium water. You don't need to clean the filter media as such, merely rinse out any solid waste.>
Since a week ago, this Betta seems to have fin rot.
<Sounds like it from the below.>
His tail is ragged now, as if it has been bitten away. I wasn't quite sure if it was fin rot but his tail does get shorter, especially parts that are already ragged. I did a lot of reading over the internet and went to a local pet shop yesterday to get Pimafix and Melafix (that's when I figured out I shouldn't clean the tank throughout as I washed away all the beneficial bacterials).
<Both fairly mild medications, and sometimes useless. Would not recommend them. They have value, perhaps, as preventatives. Rather like you'd add antiseptic ointment to a cut. But once the wound is infected, you need something stronger and more reliable.>
I put in the medicine yesterday and this morning I woke up to find his fin clamped together. Were the medicine not good for him?
<Likely doing nothing useful. But in any event, if ammonia and nitrite are not zero, then the fin clamping is more about stress than bacteria.>
Now that I have started the treatment what should I do? I am over some of the inaccurate information over the internet and
do not know what to believe anymore.
<I can imagine.>
He is still swimming fine and will rush over for food so I guess that is a good sign.
<Don't feed him at all! Adding food raises the ammonia. For the first week, don't feed at all. Second week, feed tiny amounts -- the size of his eye -- once every 2-3 days. Do the same thing the third week. By the fourth week, you can feed this small amount ever 2 days. Same for the fifth week. By week six, you should be okay to feed daily, eye-sized meals once or twice a day, as required to maintain health. Throughout the first two weeks, change 25-50% of the water daily, then during weeks 3 and 4 change 25-50% every two days, and from the 5th week onwards, change 25-50% every week.
Effectively you are cycling the tank with a fish in the aquarium. Not recommended, but do-able.>
However, he is less active now. He used to swim around actively but now sometimes he just stayed at the bottom of the tank. Maybe he is getting tired and stressed out by the medicine?
Joyce (from Australia)
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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