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FAQs on Betta Diseases 3

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Related FAQs: Betta Disease 1, Betta Disease 2, 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 19, Betta Disease 20, Betta Disease 21 Betta Health 22, Betta Health 23, Betta Health 24, Betta Disease Causes/Etiologies: Determining/Diagnosing, Environmental (By far the largest cat.), Nutritional, Viral/Cancer, Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal) , Parasitic: Ich/White Spot, Velvet; Senescence/Old Age, Cures/Curatives/Treatments,
FAQs on Betta Medicines: Betta Medicines period, Antibiotics/AntibacterialsAnti-Protozoals (Metronidazole, eSHa...), Copper, Formalin, Malachite Green, Anthelminthics, Organophosphates, All Other Betta Med.s (Mela-non-fix, Quinines...) 

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta on rebound Dear Don: Thank you for the information and the encouragement you gave me concerning my Betta. He is doing just fine after the mirror incident. I changed the water and there appears to be no sign of disease (yet). You advised me to reduce the amount of feeding and I have cut him down to half. He came to me extremely undernourished (his dorsal fin was and is non-existent) and I was having a hard time feeding him because of the intake/outtake flow in the Hex 5. I surrounded the intake with plants and floated "fry havens" near the outtake. This helped a little, but then I installed a feeding ring to prevent his food from swirling away and this actually worked in keeping his food stationary which might have allowed me to overindulge him at meal time. He comes right up to his ring and even occasionally builds his bubble nest inside. <Good move. Filtering a small Betta tank can be a challenge. They do not need or like a heavy current. Many use simple sponge filters.> You wanted to know the results of his chemical tests: PH 7.2, ammonia 0 mg/l, nitrate 10.0 ppm (mg/l), nitrite 0 ppm (mg/l). <Wow, Great! Ammonia and nitrite must be, and are, at zero. Keep nitrates as low as possible. Under 20ppm is great.> Two questions? If I want to feed him in the morning and at night, do I give him portions equal to half an "eyeball"? <Yep, or maybe a little more. The biggest problem with overfeeding is the effect it has on water quality. Yours is great right now. As long as you are testing and doing water changes, I see no problem with that schedule.> And why hasn't he bubble nested in a few weeks? Is there a cycle for this? <Many triggers for breeding behavior. Water changes, temp change, even an approaching storm have been known to trigger in different fish. And of course his single status is a factor. I would not worry about it too much.> Once, again....thank you for being so gracious and so readily assessable to the average fish-keeper. <The mission here is simple, save lives. Glad to be of help. Sue, have you joined us in the forum yet?. If not, please do. A lot of great people with diverse experiences and opinions. You can learn a lot there. In the forum, I'm "Fish Soup". Hope to see you there. Don> Sue Kennedy

A tale of two Bettas and black fuzz Hi Crew, My 1+-yr-old Betta ("Rue") died y'day.  I have one more ("Miles"), appx same age, still alive.  :) They each have/had a 3-gal tank, with glass marble/rocks from pet store and bottled water. They used to have smaller tanks, but Miles jumped out ... 4 feet down to the floor (!) so they both got new big tanks that day. And while I was at it, I got plants and a few guppies for Rue's tank.  The plant introduced a hidden snail.  (I recently read that guppies shouldn't be kept w/ Bettas, so I'll definitely not return to that bloody pet store.) Two of the guppies died within a week of purchase.  Then after Rue seemed to have fun chasing the remaining guppy around for awhile, that guppy died. And funky clear globby jelly-like dots began growing on the tank walls and floor.  I scrubbed the heck out of it (dish soap and water) and rinsed thoroughly.  Got rid of the plant. Back to Rue, water, and glass rocks. Rue was happy for awhile. Then one day I noticed that his tail looked discolored.  Upon closer inspection, the last half-inch+ of his tail was covered with black fuzz, completely, all-around.  Like the ash of a cigarette.  Looked like it was spreading to his other fins as well.  I put tetracycline in the water.  The black part of the tail fell off later that day and seemed to have stopped spreading. 2-3 weeks later, we moved.  Black fuzz returned.  Tetracycline went back into the water.  Black fuzz didn't seem as brutally overtaking as previous time.  Slowly moved up the fins and the affected areas looked black & shredded (as opposed to falling off completely like before). This time, though less "brutal", it was lethal.  Rue died within a week of the move. Any idea what that was that killed him? < A bacterial infection from the guppies probably killed your Betta. A quarantine tank for the guppies might have helped. Tetracycline is an old time medication and has many resistant strains of bacteria. I think it may have helped the first time but the bacteria may have built up an immunity and it didn't work the second time,-Chuck> Many thanks, Juliana

Two Bettas, one tank I have 2 Bettas and somehow they got into the same tank and one has almost no bottom fins.. he is movable, I was just wondering if he will live. You need to separate these two fish IMMEDIATELY, my friend.  Get these guys into their own tanks, with clean water (be sure to match the parameters from where you are moving them from), and, you may want to add MelaFix according to the bottle's dosing instructions to prevent infection and speed fin regrowth.  I keep two Bettas myself, each in his own 3 gal. Eclipse tank, and find this to be a perfect sized home for my Betta buddies.  Do separate the fish ASAP. Jorie
Jorie Betta follow-up
<Dear Jorie, Thanks for the information on my Bettas.  I  can breathe easier now!  I will go to the store to get the medication  tomorrow. Thanks again, Andrea> You are welcome, Andrea.  Were you able to separate the two? And, don't forget, that keeping the water clean is the most important thing you can do for these guys now to prevent infection.  The MelaFix will indeed help, but a good environment is paramount. Best of luck. Jorie

Bloated Betta I was wondering if my Betta fish is very fat and lays sideways, what does that mean. He's not dead cause he still swims around but he floats to the side cause he's too heavy. So what should I do? <Hi Don here. I'd like to help your Betta, but I need more info. What is he living in. A tank or bowl? Is it heated? Do you change his water? How often and when was the last time? What are you feeding him? How long have you had him? Many reasons for this, including an internal infection.>   

Bloated Betta The Betta is in a bowl and he is 1 year 2 months and 13 days old. It is not a heated bowl. <He should be kept in the high 70s.> He eats Betta food made by Wardley. <OK, but try to mix it up a bit. A very few Blood worms would be good> We change the water like once a month <With no filter, I'd change at least half each week.> but we haven't because we thought it would hurt him cause of his bloated gut. Do you think we need a bigger bowl or do you think we should just let him die? <Well before letting him die I'd at least change his water. Match temps and dechlorinate first. Don>  

Bottom of Bowl Betta We have a female Betta that we purchased February. She eats only freeze dried blood worms (she won't eat anything else). <A good treat food, but a more varied diet would be better> She has always been a very happy, active fish and her colors have become absolutely beautiful. We discovered that our cat had gotten on the shelf where we keep her in one bowl/vase and a male in another bowl on the other side of the shelf. The cat did not actually get into their bowls, just beside them. The male is fine. However the female is on the bottom of the bowl and looks to be in distress. I changed her water yesterday because there seemed to be an excess of food in the water that she didn't eat and it didn't look very good. There has been no change. We use Bowl Buddies for Bettas along with a couple of drops of Stress Coat at water changes (100% change out). Could this be an ammonia problem like I saw in one of your FAQ's, or a stress thing from the cat or just an age thing? <Any of the above> We love her as a member of the family and do not want to lose her. <Understood> We have already lost 2 males to old age and don't want to lose another. Can we do anything to help her? <Not a lot to go on here. Yes the stress of having the cat in her face could be a cause. And she may be someone's old breeder. But I think it more likely a water issue. How often have you been changing her water? What size tank and is it heated? Betta need temps in the mid to high 70s. Do you test for ammonia, nitrite nitrate and pH? If not, please get a test kit. It may be that the rich blood worms are fouling the water very quickly. Try doing 50% water changes for a few days. Keep her water warm and steady. Vacuum any uneaten food and waste. Hopefully this will allow her to regain her strength. Good luck. Don>
Bottom of Bowl Betta
We added Epsom salt and stress coat to her water Sunday. After a couple of hours, she was up off the bottom and hasn't been there since. The problem is that she is still not her normal self. I am going to take your advice about the 50% water change. She is in an extremely large vase/bowl with a plant (lily) in the top. I have always done the same things with her with no problem. I am going to get a test kit for the water. Should I put her in a different type of tank and get filter, heater and such or would that change in her environment be too much for her. I just don't know what to do.
<A bigger tank with a filter and heater (76 to 78 degrees) would be paradise to a Betta. A 5 gallon would be fine, but a ten would allow you to add a few more smaller fish. A very small power filter or even a sponge filter will do to keep water in line. Betta do not need or like a lot of current. Read up on "Cycling" and do not add her until the tank is ready. Float her in a bag in the new tank to slowly warm her up. Then add a cup or so of tank water every 30 minutes or so until you have replaced about half her water. Don>
Bottom of Bowl Betta
If we can get the water and temperature right, will she start acting normal again. <Good chance, no promise though> She hasn't gone back to the bottom, but she is at the top acting strange and she still isn't eating. <Not good> Have you ever seen one come back from acting like this? <Yes, and worse> Could the temperature or water quality have caused permanent damage of some sort? <Temp, not likely. Water quality, yes. I've been rethinking my suggestion. I think you would be better off getting this fish warmed up ASAP. The fact she is not eating worries me. If you upgrade her tank I would move her there now. Pick up a test kit and check for ammonia and nitrite spikes. Do water changes to keep them at zero. Not good to put a fish in an uncycled tank, but she could starve waiting for the tank to cycle. Good luck. Don>
Bottom of Bowl Betta
If I can't get the new tank set up until the weekend (waiting for payday) should I go ahead and get a small heater for her current bowl? <No. Even a small heater will to too hot for a small bowl. Temp swings are worse that a steady, but incorrect, temp. A warmer place in the house may help. Just keep it steady for now.> Will the test kit advise me on how to get the water right. <No, we'll be looking for ammonia and nitrite build up at first. Until the filter is cycled, the fix is partial water changes. Very important, these are deadly!> I know this sounds horrible, but other than putting in the Bowl Buddies or the Stress Coat, I don't know anything about how to do anything with the water. I want to learn to be a good "mommy." <Search this site for "Cycling" and all will become clear.> Will the info be on the test? Is there anything else you recommend I get? <Bubbling treasure chest?> (by the way, thank you so much for all of your help along the way)<My pleasure> <I'd drop the Bowl Buddies and Stress Coat. The only thing I add to my water is dechlorinator. Better to have our fish adjust to our source water than to be tinkering with things, IMO. Remember, it's the sudden swing that kills the quickest. Float her in a bag until temps match, then add small amounts of the new water to match pH. She should handle the move well. Good luck and thanks for caring enough to ask the questions. Don>  

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

Lethargic Betta I was wondering if my Betta fish is very fat and lays sideways, what does that mean.  He's not dead because he still swims around but he floats to the side cause he's too heavy. <My first guess would intestinal problems or a tumor.> So what should I do? <A change in diet, clean (warm) water, and maybe some Epsom salt mixed into his water.  The link below will have more information on treating these types of problems in Bettas.  Best Regards,  Gage> http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm

Fuzzy Betta Hi- <Hi back, Don here> recently I purchased three Betta fish. <How long ago? Is your tank cycled?> I was told all three were female and that they would be fine together in my 1 gallon tank.  <More would be better, around 6. It spreads out the aggression. But you would need to use a 5 to 10 gallon tank.> The tank has a filter and pump. It's temp is about 68 F. <This HAS to be fixed. Bettas are warm water fish. They must have a steady temp in the mid to high 70's. It can be hard to find a heater small enough for a one gallon tank. Another reason to upgrade.> One of the "females" has acted very aggressive and as soon as I came home from work I noticed she had torn most of the fins off of one of the other females. <Ouch!> She also appeared to have bite's taken out around the head and body of the fish. <Ouch, Ouch!> I immediately removed the aggressive female to her own tank, <Good> which I now believe to be a male. It's got a lot longer fins than the other two. <May be a young male> It's been a couple days and the injured female appears to be acting normal but has grown fuzzy white stuff over her injuries. <May be something like Columnaris or fungus. I would treat with Oxytetracycline in food. Barring that, Oxytetracycline, tetracycline, or Kanamycin in the water. Add one tablespoon of aquarium salt also. Keep the water pristine with water changes> I don't know much about Bettas other than the diet and conditions they should live in. <temp?>  Is there anything I can do for her? <Warm her up, treat as above> Should I take the other female out? <If not aggressive she can stay, but better to move her before treatment. Some female Bettas are almost as bad as the males. Watch her. If they fight either give each their own space or add more in a larger tank. If you have the females in order to breed, the larger tank will serve you well. The meaty foods used to condition them will not foul the larger tank as quickly. You can use the smaller tanks for breeding and hatching fry. Good luck with her>

Male Betta tail fin seems to be dissolving Hi Chuck and friends, I am noticing or maybe it has been this way that my male Betta tail fin is dissolving or maybe it has been this way when I bought him. It has been three to four weeks since I bought him. Is it normal? Is it stress? He ill? Is it the water? He seems to be eating well, I feed he a mix of dried worms and pro-gold pellets. Thanks Again, Mario D. < Watch him carefully and see if in fact the tail has a blackened border. It is "dissolving" then it is probably a bacterial infection commonly called tail rot. Make sure the water is clean and treat with Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package. Clean the filter too as organics in the water affect the medication.-Chuck>

Crown Tail Betta Question - 10/10/2004 I recently bought a friend a Crown Tail Betta to cheer her up.  She has had two Bettas and both have died and she was not going to get another.   <Might be a good idea to try to help her figure out why the others died; perhaps it is something you can help her prevent from happening again.> Do the Crown Tails have the same habits as a regular Betta or are they different altogether?   <They are precisely the same.  They may be a bit more delicate due to more extensive inbreeding, but still, same behaviours and such.> Her first Betta used to jump up and eat out of her fingers, got excited when she was around - could this one do those sorts of things too? <Yes indeed.  It's just a matter of time and proper care.  Wishing you and your friend (and her fish) well,  -Sabrina>

A Siamese fighter- stress I've recently bought a Siamese fighter (male).. about 2 weeks ago I think. Up until now he has been perfect, no signs of stress, eating as much as I give him (about 2-3 blood worms per day, recommended by the pet shop people).. <A good treat food. Your Betta would be better off with a more varied diet. A lot of good Betta food on the market> I have done the mirror trick about 3 times in total to see what kind of temperament the little guy had, and also to show him to friends, etc. I realize that putting a mirror where he can see his reflection would cause stress, but am sure that this is not the cause of the problem, as this problem has started at least a week after the last time I did the mirror thing. The problem is that he seems to get really scared every time I put my hand or anything else near the bowl.. I'm pretty sure this started when I put a camera close to him to take his picture.. it is the first time I've observed this type of reaction. Note that it was not after I took the picture (with flash) that he got scared.. simply showing him the camera did this. I find this *extremely* odd..<I think it pretty normal for a fish to fear an object much larger than themselves suddenly shoved up to the tank> I'm pretty sure he's displaying fear because he begins thrashing about in the water when I put objects close to him. I have changed his water and used the correct amount of water conditioner <Only once in two weeks on a blood worm diet?>.. he's in a small tank on his own, not sure of the temperature, <Warm water fish. You need a small heater to keep the tank in the mid to upper 70's.> He's not in direct sunlight.. not sitting next to any loud speakers or anything.. I've got no idea what's going on. <First you need to start doing more water changes. Next improve his diet and add a heater. A very low flow filter would help a lot. But you want very little current in a small Betta tank. I think all those rich blood worms are fouling the water in a day or so. His thrashing could be the result.>   If you could get back to me with some questions or suggestions that would be great. Thanks a lot. Regards, Sam <Don>

Betta & 10 gal home Hi Chuck.. thanking you again for finding time for me & my Betta...but for now I need to set aside the aquarium dilemma. I have found on 2 occasions what looks like a black piece of hair, but it doesn't move. First time it was size of eyelash, 2nd time its nearly twice that size (very thin but tubular and perfectly straight) totally alien from his normal stool-if it is a part of his stool, doesn't look like his regular stool movement at all. I'm hoping its not a parasite since I'm planning to place him in an aquarium w/ plants by himself. I have fed him on occasion wild fruit flies I killed myself and brine shrimp. Could the fruit flies have had parasites, when I squashed them they had red blood to my surprise! I don't have a digital camera now - so I cant send a pix < I suspect that what you are finding is the exoskeleton of the fruit flies that are indigestible to your Betta and simply passing through. I would not worry about it.> And these past 2 days he spit out his Betta bite pellets & Hikari brand pellets, maybe his loss of appetite is coincidental. Maybe its his way of telling me he wants live food!--don't know--- < Could be fat and sassy and can wait for the good stuff. Wait a couple a days and see how he acts. If the water has cooled down then that would make a difference on his appetite too.> (A separate ques. How many brine shrimp would you feed him per serving he is an adult Betta?) < Only enough so that it can eat in a couple of minutes. No more!> Eagerly awaiting your response I writing to you from NYC its 4:15pm now if you cant respond by 6:30pm to this email address: XXXX@dot.nyc.gov can you then Email me at XXXX@hotmail.com, since for the next 3 days I wont have access to the 1st address, And thank you again *smile* Diane Ps just the other day I went to "Petland" - and was very saddened to see 6 tiny bowls with gorgeous Bettas sitting listlessly and dejectedly in their confines. It really upsets me how pet shops are marketing these poor little souls  - its very cruel. < Keep in mind that these are temporary setups and not designed for long term residence . It fact many Bettas are usually sold in the first week they arrive at the shop.> I cant help but to feel I'm doing a justice for my Betta at home - he has a 2 gal to himself - and he has quite a bit of energy. (even though I'm ques parasites) They are lovely animals, they're very curious and love to inspect the newness of everything they come across < Welcome to the world of tropical fish keeping. You are truly a hobbyist because you watch your fish and not just look at them.-Chuck> Regards Diane

Betta Losing His Fins - 10/06/2004 While I was out of town my family fed my beta fish but let the tank go. <Yikes!> It was a major mess. Now he is missing fins. <Oh dear, so sorry to hear this!> He really had beautiful flowing fins, now the top one is gone and the bottom one is ragged.   <A shame.> If I get the problem under control will they grow back? <They may, provided you give him excellent care and the damage was not too extensive.> I have cleaned the tank...what now? What should I add to the water.   <If anything at all, I would consider an antibiotic such as Kanamycin (Kanacyn, Kanaplex, Spectrogram).  This may not be necessary, if he begins to improve without.  You should know in a day or two whether you should intervene, I'd think.> I check the ph and attempt to keep it stable.   <Always crucial.> The water temperature is a little on the cool side.  As long as I kept the tank clean it seemed ok.   <Best to keep him in the mid 70s Fahrenheit.  Wishing you and your splendid splendens well,  -Sabrina>

Re: Slightly Older New Tank Queries Hi once again, <Hi Anthony, nice to talk again! MacL once again here> I'll be out of your hair in one more email. :) <Ask all you need> First up, bad news - my Betta has white spot. But, as I do spend quite some time checking the fish, I think I've caught it early on. He's eating well and swimming though he does spend more time resting (and last night, he tried to ' beach' himself on the top of my filter!! I've raised the water level now). I've just bought the medication and will administer it when I get home. Unfortunately, I don't have a quarantine tank... damn.. I'm crossing my fingers. <No type of bowl to isolate just him in?> I was just wondering about cleaning the tank. I've not used a vacuum as yet (I have used a jug) as I wanted to query it with you. My substrate is primarily sand with some gravel - mainly around the roots of my plants. How can I clean the sand without getting half of it sucked up? <I would use a turkey baster and suck up the detritus.> I've done searches on the net but only find things which relate to gravel cleaners. There's plenty of algae for the Bristlenose by the way - and I have wafers. I just have to find him now... damned camouflage. <Don't feed until you know where he is, you don't want rotting food just laying around> Thanks once again for the kind advice and patience <Good luck Anthony, MacL> Anthony

Betta - Spots on Pecs Hi Crew! Glad your out there to help!!! I noticed my year old male Betta splenden's pecs have tiny little dots same color as the tone of his pectoral fins- I 1st thought debris of some sort - since he likes to swim under fake branch the swim-through space under the branch is a little tight for him - he gets under it by swimming a little on his side to get through to the other side. His home of 2 gallons has light blue gravel (so its not gravel -dust in his pecs) I will buy him a slightly larger drift wood that has a larger curved limb so he can swim through easily. I always add .25 - .5 teaspoon of aquarium salt with water changes bi-weekly. I hope this isn't some type of disease cropping up - I noticed last night he seemed a bit dazed couldn't see his pellet easily (unusual).- seemed blind (maybe bec. He was in the dark for a few hrs & his eyes needed to adjust for feeding once I switched on the light, but he finally saw it and ate it His disposition could have something to do with temp change of my apartment which I cant control-live in Brooklyn NY. We've been having temp swings since summers ending some days cool 70- 82 degrees temp dipping further at night I'm doing research/regarding 10-15 gal tanks heaters and wave-free filters for my Betta - pretty complex In the meantime should I be concerned about these specs on his pecs? They are not white in color just same as his skin tone. - I even tried spying on them with a magnifying glass - but still too small to make out - looks like dirt specs. Thanks Again Diane < The specks may just be part of his normal coloration as he ages. If the fins are not clamped and you don't see any other spots on the rest of his body then I wouldn't worry about the spots. Do try and keep him in a warm area so the water temp doesn't dip too low. A larger container will take longer to change water temperature so it might be worth looking into.-Chuck>
Response for Chuck: Betta - Spots on Pecs
Hi Chuck! - Great Relief with your reply on his pectoral specs! He does have tiny black dots in perfect line on his dorsal and bit on anal fins - I never noticed till I looked at him very closely with a magnifying glass but to me as novice of these animals these dots look like his design they are all in perfect line - maybe fish can have freckles too.... Been doing my research on a tank for him.  At NEW WORLD AQUARIUM in Manhattan - the guy said my 1 male Betta splendens would not need a filter in a 10-15 gal tank. Just a heater and to do my water changes with siphon hose I would think by not having filter I would need to do 100% water changes Once @ 2 wks?/ netting of fish etc as part of my routine for a 10-15 gal tank...sounds cumbersome @ stressful for fish...with netting (well I capture my fish from behind when he surfaces to top for food & he Swoops right in then I leave him in a waiting bowl when I clean his bowl) haven't had much luck w/netting If I get a filter it eliminates 100% water changes & capturing  Betta But still I'm finding that filters can cause stress too. This aquarium shop is only offering a small power filter w/carbon cart. He said it has valve to control water flow. If I were to get this one do you suggest I put a long silky plant to calm the pull of filter in front would this suffice or should I put little sponge on tip of intake? Or I can get the same filter with a bio wheel -which allows tank to still hold onto its bacteria without losing all of it, with each cart change , but draw back it doesn't have valve to alter flow... In the past you wrote me that I need to "turn the vol. of tank over at least 3 times an hour to protect Betta from intake tube" - does this still hold true for a tank 10-15 gal? And what's this equivalent to in GPH? What do you think of having 2 sponge filters in this tank are they noisy Would they do adequate filtering as I change 1 sponge leave the other in tank to keep good bacteria constant? This shop also doesn't have gravel filter - I read they're great for growing/main good bacteria. But there are "dead spots" if you have piece of wood or ornament maybe plants with these filters. I'm still deliberating on "ideal" filtration for Betta for 10-15 gal tank < If all you want to do is keep a Betta and no other fish then a small 5 or 10 gallon aquarium would be fine. Put a couple inches of sand in it and a couple of rocks or driftwood for decoration. Use a good quality heater to keep the water at 80 degrees. A good light is important too to support plant growth. Use a small Marineland out side power filter with the BioWheel. For just a Betta a small one that moves 20 to 30 gallons per hour would be just fine. The key to all of this is to use some live plants. Floating plants such as hornwort or Najah grass/star grass are easy to grow and provide and area of security for your Betta . They also absorb any strong currents and help reduce nitrates too. Another trick is to stick the rooted end of a Pothos plant inside your tank and the leafy end will grow and absorb nitrates from the tank. When changing the water I would only do a 30% water change with gravel vacuuming one half the tank. The Betta will be hiding in the other half in the floating plants. You could tie a piece of Anubias or Java fern to the driftwood. These slow growing plants are very hardy and add  a lot to the looks of the tank while absorbing some fish waste. With this set up you may only have to change water once a month. You could add a couple Otocinclus to the tank to control some of the algae. Check the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and I'll bet you hardly have to do any maintenance to your tank at all.-Chuck> Thanks again for your thoughtfulness & expertise Diane!
Re: Response for Chuck: Betta - Spots on Pecs
Thank you Would I have to use the Otocinclus 's as "the cycling" fish & once the nitrites are  at the acceptable level I will then add my Betta? < The Betta is hardier than the Otocinclus. If you have no algae then you don't need any algae eaters and they will starve.> I was just a little hesitant re: roommates for my Betta (approx yr old) - don't know if he'd prefer to live alone....or do they fare Betta with suitable companions??? < They do better alone. The Otocinclus are little obscure algae eating catfish that the Betta probably will not bother.> Before you mentioned the couple of Otocinclus I was deliberating on 2 mollies or a couple of platies or a specific type of snail top keep him company. So I'm not sure about roomies yet Also I noticed you mentioning sand rather tan gravel...easier to clean... Or maybe its more like Betta environment? < Sand has more surface to volume ratio so it actually has more surface area then gravel. What this means is that the good bacteria that break down the fish waste have more area to live on so the more the bacteria the more the waste they can break down.> Do you need to start the cycle with hardy fish first or do you recommend a starter solution think its called "Fritz" or something like that. Also I read its not a good idea to take bacteria water from a pet shop, it can be risky to start the cycle. < Use Bio-Spira by Marineland and start checking the ammonia , nitrite and nitrate levels. Check out  Dr. Tim's library for an article titled the first 30 days. It will give you a lot of good information.> If I choose to use the Otocinclus (maybe you recommend them because they are bottom feeders?) as companions or mollies... Should I jump to the 15 gal instead of the 10.? < When you started the questions you were only talking about a Betta and now we are heading towards a community tank. Unfortunately I have found that Bettas do better by themselves then with other fish over the long run. The Bettas fins are just too long and flowing and the other fish are attracted to them and they chase and harass the poor Betta until his fins become torn and ragged.> Other alternative if I just have my Betta how should I cycle water for him...you see I'm waffling should I or shouldn't I join him with other fish -will he be happier and live longer alone or in good company - & how would that affect the cycling of my tank either way I choose. I'd probably choose the 15 gal if I have 3-4 fish total. Interesting advice And thanks for your plant suggestions < After you read Tim's articles you will have better understanding on how to get a tank going and getting it cycled. The process is the same for all FW aquariums regardless of size.-Chuck> Diane

Sick Betta Hi guys!  I have a Betta fish, that has developed cloudy, white bulges over both eyes.  Is this a fungus?  His mouth also looks swollen, but otherwise ok.  What is the best treatment for this? < Sounds like a bacterial infection. Make sure the water temp is up around 80 degrees and do a 30% water change. Treat with Nitrofuranace as per the directions on the package.-Chuck> Cari Knapp

Problem with my Betta Hello, <Hi Michael, MacL here with you tonight> I have a Betta in a bowl, nothing fancy. <Betta's are great> Today we noticed a red "thing" hanging from the rectum of the fish.  It also seems to be swimming "stern down" a bit. <I think your Betta is pooping to be blunt Michael.  Sometimes it comes out in a long stream and if he seems to be having difficulties then you get into a whole nother set of issues. But sounds like he's just going. Good luck, MacL> Michael

Is My Betta Sick? I recently bought a Betta fish from Wal-Mart. It probably isn't the best place to buy a Betta, but they looked so sad in those little Tupperware things they had them in. Anyways, I've had him for a week or so and he seems to be acting funny. He's terrified of anyone who comes close to a tank. He has a little plastic tree in there with him and he hides in the corner between the tree and the wall of his tank. Also his top fin is bunched up. My sister has a Betta and Martin (my fish) doesn't look a "flowery" as hers. I read an article that said some Bettas are passive and won't fight. Is that why he's so skittish? I'm using bottled water. He's blowing those little bubbles so he can't be that sick.  Maybe it's just because he's in a new place? Also, he stares at his reflection and anything shiny outside his tank. He's a weird fish.  Thank you so much. I've been worried about him. P.S. My user name and password won't work. What's up?  <<Hello. Some Bettas are scaredy-cats :P Give him some time :)  As long as his water quality remains good, he should do just fine. How big is his tank? Some Bettas prefer smaller tanks, as strange as that may sound. They are not used to large, open spaces, and will hide if they feel threatened.  You can try adding more fish, not just any fish, but a species that will not be aggressive towards him, like a few Pristella tetras, or some Corydoras catfish. This will make him feel as though there is no danger, since these "other" fish are out and about without coming to any harm from predators.  I can't help you with your password, perhaps you should try again? Make sure you are using the right one! -Gwen>>

Sick Betta I have a Betta that has suddenly lost fins, is listless and not eating.  His body has areas of reddening.  I recently added the substrate Sera which is mostly sand and peat and that's when the symptoms began.  My pH was running 7.6 and is now at neutral but was running slightly lower than that for a few days.  During those times I added drops of pH Up that came with my test kit (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Deluxe pH).  I am now doing large water changes and have done 2 treatments of BettaMax with a third due today.  I am no longer doing drops of pH Up but am adding drops of a product called KoiZyme.  I have a 5 gallon Eclipse Hex 5 and tankmates are 1 platy, 2 albino Corys and 4 cardinal tetras.  I lost 2 cardinals recently to what I think was due to pH changes, however, now all except the Betta seem fine.  What, if anything, can I do to save my Betta?  The BettaMax does not seem to be helping and the body reddening appears worse.  The tank has been cycled for 2 months and shows no ammonia or nitrite.  Only the substrate is new and there is about 2 inches of it under 2 inches of gravel.  In addition I have plants and a bog log.  The water normally is slightly tea colored perhaps due to the bog log.  Any help you could give this frustrated aquarist would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you, Susan ****Hi Susan, Either the substrate itself, or the act of installing it has stressed your fish and whacked their immune response it seems. It could very well have been a pH shock. Adding a peat substrate will lower the pH of a tank very rapidly. Adding a product to increase pH, when you have a peat substrate is almost futile, so I wouldn't bother with that anymore. This sounds a bit like Trichodina, a parasitic organism that can cause the symptoms you describe. Although the missing fins can mean a fungal infection. Hard to say without seeing the fish. The best medication I've ever used when treating freshwater fish is "Clout"  http://www.wetpetsusa.com/aqprodfismed1.html  its seems to treat just about anything, and I've used it for everything from fungal infections to anchor worms. Give it a try, in a hospital tank if possible. This medication is VERY strong. Going forward, remember that changing a substrate in a tank after it's stocked with fish is very stressful to the inhabitants. You open the door for all sorts of problems. Sometimes when these infections get to an advanced stage, especially on a small fish, saving the fish isn't always possible. Good luck Jim****

Concerned about the new Betta - sick or tank issues? Also, truth or myth? Hi, Thank you for the reply.  Before reading this I had already divided them up into their own tanks but what is frustrating is how divided the different sources are on these fish.  No offense, I'm sure this website is a good source for me to go but it's hard as a novice to know who is truly an expert and who isn't.  Some experts say that some interaction (not in same tanks but near each other) can be beneficial to them to keep them somewhat active (exercise...) and mentally alert. < Just like raising kids, it is hard to find two opinions exactly alike.> The "mellow" one had a golden algae eater as tank partner and he tormented him but now in a 5 gallon tank, he leaves him alone or rather, the algae eater has a place to go and 'hide'.  He's been much more active since then but like you said, he has his mellow moments. I'm enjoying them but my mellow guy I did move to see the other ones because if he couldn't see them, he would hit the corners in the tank constantly like he was trying to get out.  Now he does his occasional show, and then he just hangs out. I guess it all depends on  the fish and the environment.  My other active guys have mellowed out two.  The flare at times but hang out more and get excited when they see me.  They now have their own space and seem to take to that very well. < In the wild Bettas come from shallow little pools that males need to defend from other males to establish a breeding territory. These battles are often terminal for the losers so don't feel to lonely for them . That's the way they like it.-Chuck> Thanks for the update and I'll be checking the website. A new-found Betta lover Heleen

Betta splendens of the 2 thin hanging fins under chin 1 is turning opaque white from the tip-does he need meds? Hi hope you can help me I never had a fish before & I love my Betta I've had my fish for 2 & 1/2 weeks -male splendens- blue and maroon not a baby I noticed of the 2 beard-like fins under his chin 1 is becoming opaque white from the tip -its not a growth. Also these 2 thin beard-like fins never open just hang there since I got him I also noticed his gills are RED which I get to see beneath  when he flares at his image in mirror is that a healthy color? He's  energetic with mirror and eats well 6-7 (Betta bites) pellets per day. He's in a gallon bowl I'm careful to age 24hrs and condition to be room temp I make his 1/2 bowl water changes 2x a week. I added 1/2 teaspoon aquarium salt  to his 1 gal home.  I'm moving him into a 2 gal bowl When I got him from pet shop he had little hole in bottom long fin-the anal? <Yep> I was told by pet shop person to give him BettaFix for 1 week w/o changing water (1 gal home) I just gave meds 3 days and then his tail started to shred I stopped the Betta-fix gave him 100% water change I noticed later the hole mended --he's just starting to regrow tail slightly should I just continue like this with the 1/2 tsp aquarium salt or does he now need meds---  now that his bearded fin is turning opaque white (does not look like a growth) Pls help me to help him...a pet shop owner said meds will kill him.. But I see contrary info on web site Pls respond ASAP as I'm leaving for Maine this Thursday Sept 2nd for 1 week and a very responsible friend will take care of him That is I don't know what kind or if he might need meds His little life is worth saving he's a fighter after all his hole mended Thank you very much in advance < The white tips at the edge of the ventral fins are normal for a maturing male Betta. The red gills are also normal because this area needs to be red from blood to pick up oxygen and release CO2 into the water. Everything sound fine now and I would discontinue the medication and remind your friend that a little food is better than too much food. Make sure that you give your friend this email address so in case anything goes wrong they can get help.-Chuck> Thanks Diane

Betta Stress We have a couple of Bettas.  We recently changed tanks (they're in separate tanks beside each other) and one of them seemed to go into the classic stress mode, not eating much of anything for a couple of weeks or so, but now seems to be rebounding nicely with a healthy appetite and much more active.   However it seems to have a slight oily sheen on the surface of the water that seems to be coming from the fish itself.  We've changed the water and washed the tank contents well, so I know it's not from that but it's returned.  Ever heard of this?  If so, assuming it's some type of problem is there a cure? thanks, Ron <<Hi. Oily sheens on the surface of tanks and bowls is caused by a few things, like the type of food you are feeding, dust etc., that settles on the waters surface, and organics (waste) in the water itself. In a normal tank, you could adjust the filter outlet to break the surface tension of the water, so it can be pulled down and into, and thus removed by the filter. As long as it just sits on top, it has nowhere to go. This is most likely due to your efforts to get the boy to eat, and the residual organics have built up, so just do a few extra water changes, that should take care of it. -Gwen>>

Bettas and Bass (sound) Hi, I would like to know how well Bettas can hear.  Are they bothered by loud noise or base?  Mine doesn't seem to be annoyed by the two, but I want to make sure I am not hurting him as I am enjoying my music! Thank you, Tadeja <<Hello. Fish can be adversely affected by the vibrations of loud music, too much bass can most likely damage the sensitive, tiny, ocular bones in small fishes. Loaches and tetras, for example, are quite sensitive to sound, their ocular bones are attached via nerves to their swim bladder. Fish that tend to swim in schools do so by vibration and can actually "hear" the fish swimming near them, and hence the direction they are going. Sight is secondary in many, many species of fish. They navigate by lateral line and sensitivity to the water pressure around them. If you have ever spent any time diving underwater, you will understand how well sound carries, and even the slightest noise is heard by all, heard by us, too, and our hearing is only half, if that, of what fish can hear. You should be careful with your sound system, I know it's not easy, and the sad part is, no one pays attention to stuff like this. People will play their TV's loud, their sound systems louder, and they think that because their fish are still swimming around like normal that it doesn't affect them. Tell me, can YOU tell a deaf person with hearing damage just by looking at them across the room? No, indeed. -Gwen>>

Betta with silver coloring on his face, maybe a parasite? Hi! I sent in an email yesterday, about 30 hours ago but I cannot find it on the site anywhere. I am SO sorry if you have answered it and somehow I missed it. I am really worried about my little guy or else I would just let it go so as not to bother you again. I will check the site every few hours this time so I can catch it. August17,2004 Hi! I am so happy I found you and your website! I think my Betta might be in the beginning stages of  some sort of parasitic infection. I readily admit I do not know much but I am absorbing everything I can as quickly as I can. My husband and I got Zen 5 weeks ago. He is in his own ten gallon tank with two little O-cats. The tank has a Penguin mini filter and an aerator (sp?) The tank is in it's fifth week of being set up. We had two little O-cats die about three weeks ago. So we did a half tank change when the tank was two weeks old. We added Betta water conditioner made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals) and Ph down. ( The Ph has been high since we started... cannot get it down) We have had the water tested throughout the past five weeks and Ph has always been high.. by high I mean 7.6 - 8.2. Everything was going along fine and about a week ago Zen started eating much less and then not at all... then he started eating again but just a little. He always was interested in the food and went after it like a true predator but he would spit it out. Now he is eating fine. I went to a local, huge fish store with very knowledgeable staff (Aquarium World) and they did another water quality test and said the ammonia was a bit high ( 0.5) and the Ph was 8.2. New tank syndrome. So we did a 1/3 tank change and took all decorations out and washed them with warm, clean water and siphoned as much of the waste as we could get. We put a water softener pillow in the filter cause the water was hard, added AquaSafe to dechlorinate and some Ph Down. The water added was a match in temp to what was left in the tank That was three days ago and that night was when I first noticed the odd coloring of his face beneath his eyes. The next day we tested the water and it was perfect except for elevated Ph ( around 8.0). We plan on doing 10%-15% water changes weekly for another month until that "good" bacteria starts taking hold. The temperature has always been steady at 78, dipping to 76 overnight. We do not have a heater. They , also, told us that we had probably overfed Zen.  Ugh! I still have not gotten the same answer from any resource on how much to feed these guys. The employee said he was probably just full from the excess food and living off reserves. He is eating small quantities now. I feed him once a day now, about two-three pellets (Bio-Blend by Marineland) and either a couple freeze dried blood worms, fresh brine shrimp, freeze dried brine shrimp or freeze dried Daphnia a couple times a week. He has remained active, alert, social and well-adjusted. He gets excited when he sees us ( Betta's are SO cool!), he catches reflections of himself and puffs up to show his reflection how tough he is (LOL) and he makes little bubble nests upon occasion. He seems fine behaviour. The main problem now is a silvery look to some of his body. He is a solid blood red with gorgeous fins!  As I stated above, I noticed it three days ago. It goes from his mouth to his gills , covering the area beneath his eyes, on both sides. It appears grayish, hardly noticeable in natural light, but when the light catches it (or a flashlight to get a better look) it is definitely silvery. Like his skin is silver plated. It does not look like cotton or ulcerated. It is very smooth just like his skin. It has not progressed in the past three days, it has been status quo. The two little Cats do not seem affected. I talked to someone I considered knowledgeable and she said it might be velvet disease OR it could possibly be that he is a marbled Betta which means he will change colors throughout his life at different stages and possibly he is starting to shift. She said to treat him with a copper based medicine just to be sure and it would be okay to do it in his ten gallon tank with the O'cats and it would be okay to leave the carbon filter in. Well, I did some research and I have gotten conflicting information so I am at a loss what to do. I love this guy SO much!! I am so afraid my inexperience is going to kill him and I just couldn't live with that. I attached some pictures but I only had a digital, I didn't want to take a couple days to get high speed film and developed it. Anyway, they are very blurry but maybe it will help, the silvery color under his eyes and just behind his gills is in sharp contrast to his deep color. I , also, sent one of him in natural light, it is hardly noticeable then. One more was of my tank, I attached that because as I was trying to get these shots of him I *think?* I noticed him eating some sand from the bottom! He then would open his mouth very big! Uuummm, I hope this isn't bad. I've never seen him open his mouth so big and it's behaviour I have never noticed before. Again, we have gotten conflicting advice on sand in a freshwater tank, some say okay others say not. Can you please help me? I will do my best to provide any other info. Thank you for your help. I finally found some experts I can trust! August 18,2004 More info from today's water quality testing: Ph=8.4 / Nitrite=0.5ppm / Temp : 76 degrees F / Toxic Ammonia=.05% / Ammonia=1ppm / Iron=0ppm/ Carbon Dioxide=3ppm / Chlorine=0ppm / General Hardness=3/ Carbonate Hardness= 9/ Permanent Hardness=negative 6 /Copper=0ppm.. As I stated above, we did a 3 gallon water change 4 days ago.... what do we have to do to get the Ph down? We put Ph Down in but it seems to do no good at all. Please help!! The silvery coloring is still on his face, it hasn't changed in any way and his behaviour remains normal today. Quite happy, active, alert, social and feisty. We bought some Aquarisol tonight in case it is velvet disease and some aquarium salt and a heater. I just don't want to put that copper in his tank if I don't need to and I have no idea what this could be. I can't find anything anywhere that sounds similar. I am sorry if I missed a previous reply to this, I really, really am. I will return to the site every few hours during waking hours to check this time. Thank you SO much for your time and for sharing your knowledge!! Regards, Patricia Russell < The coloration on your Betta seems normal. As long as he is eating and acting fine I would leave things alone. As far as your high pH goes you have too much calcium in your water. The acid is soon neutralized by the calcium and the pH bounces back up. To reduce the pH I would get a clean 5 gallon bucket and fill it with distilled or deionized water. After that I would add a buffer that would stabilize the pH at pH 6. Shouldn't take too much. When I change water I would take the water from the 5 gallon bucket that has already been stabilized. Never change the pH of the water in the tank itself with fish. The pH change can be too much for many fish to handle. Change 30% of the water weekly removing the waste from the bottom of the tank. After the 5 gallon bucket is gone I would use 20% tap water to 80% pure water for future water changes. Your water will need some calcium to keep the nitrifying bacteria healthy and keep things fairly neutral.-Chuck>

Betta Color Change Hi, I have a male Betta and have had him now for probably 3mos. He is in a tall vase with a plant in the top , the roots are in the water. Things have been great. I change the water once a week and let the tap water sit for 24hrs before I put him in it. Recently he is turning pale, silverish in color. Any ideas? Should I be using something in the water? Thanks, Geoff <<Hello. The color change could be normal, or it could be indicative of an illness. I have no idea: you need to give me more information. First, you will need to test your water and tell me the results. Do an ammonia test, and it should be lower than .25 ppm, or trouble will arise. Also any other info, such as does he still eat, does he do anything that he didn't before, such as hide a lot, or stay in one place? What is the temp of the water, and does the temp fluctuate? Keep a thermometer in there for a few days, and check the temp in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The temp must remain as stable as possible. Has your city recently started adding chloramines to the source water? Chloramine, unlike chlorine, does NOT gas out in 24 hours. You may need to use a good dechlorinator. Also, is there any sign of Finrot? -Gwen>>

Betta with lump 9 Aug 2004 Hi it's me again, <Hi Magic, MacL here with you tonight> One of my Bettas has a lump on it's side like around the abdomen.
<There are a lot of things this could be, some type of injury or possibly Lymphocystis. It would truly help to have a picture of it. Please take a look on the website at the freshwater diseases, and see if any look similar. Let me suggest you start here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/parasitcdisovr.htm
I am curious what it might be and what I can do to help it. I don't want to lose the lil fella. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Magic

Betta troubles Dear Chuck: I need a little sympathy and some input, please.  After all I went through with my Betta to get him back by himself in the 10 gallon tank, something unexpected happened and I just had to euthanize him.  Yesterday, he was on the mend and swimming around just fine, but this morning, when I went in to feed him and turn on his light, he had turned a grayish color around his face and his fins were shredded beyond belief.  There's no fish in there with him, so it couldn't be other fish, but I knew he was beyond help, so I took him out, put a towel around him, and killed him as quickly as possible by squeezing him on both sides of his body.  I read all the various ways, and somehow, instantaneous death seemed preferable to trying all the other methods suggested.  He died instantly, but I think a part of me died with him. That was SO hard to do.  Please tell me I did the right thing. < Next time put him in a glass with an Alka-Seltzer tablet. The co2 bubbles will pit him to sleep and you can put him in the freezer and he will slowly an painlessly freeze to death.> Back to what may have caused this, I can only think of three possible factors.  Please weigh in, please.  The first is that he tried to swim inside a small hollow that I've now discovered in the piece of driftwood. The hollow doesn't seem that splintered to me, but I supposed it could be to a fish.  At any rate, I've removed the driftwood.  The second possibility is that he got jammed behind a recently installed heater.  The heater hasn't been turned on our used, so that didn't have anything to do with it, but I guess it's possible he got lodged around the suction cups-although it's hard to imagine how something like that could happen, as I could easily get my fingers between the heater and the back of the tank, and there isn't anything sharp on the heater or around the suction cups.  Lastly, and this seems the most improbable, is it possible that too much MelaFix could've caused a reverse action to what it was designed to help? < I don't use MelaFix, but I suppose it is possible.>   This is a 10 gallon tank, and it was virtually impossible to measure the precise dose. Also, I would think that if he died chemically, his fins wouldn't have been shredded.   I'm going to keep this as my quarantine tank, and am not going to do Bettas again for a while, but I would appreciate your thoughts on what might have caused this, so it can be prevented in the future.  This just broke my heart-and it was very difficult trying to explain it to my 2 year old, since I didn't really know what happened myself. < Bettas need to come to the surface to breath. If not they will die . It is possible that the fins got caught on the driftwood and your fish struggled to break free and get to the surface. Another thought would be that he jumped out and flipped around awhile before getting back in.-Chuck> Cyndy Monarez

Betta 9 Aug 2004 Hi, <Hi Stacy, MacL here with you tonight>  I have a very active male Betta fish.  Recently, however, I have found him to look extremely bloated and round in his front just behind his head.  He is still as active as he has ever been and is eating the same as well. I believe that it is either the hot weather where I live in California or overfeeding (however, I only feed him 5 pellets two times a day). <I believe that's way to much food for a Betta. Once a day is enough and perhaps half that amount of food.> If you could reply what might be wrong, that would be wonderful. Thank you for your time. <Just cut way back on the food and possibly even skip a day. You'll do just great! MacL>

Betta question Hello, First let me say I'm very intrigued by your site.  Although it has not answered MY question directly, I have gained a lot of knowledge. Now with my situation - Until a couple days ago, my two male Betta fish were in a 2.5 gallon tank w/separator (first attachment).  These are the first fish I've ever had so when I saw tiny little white spots all over them, I panicked.  I had done my homework after my purchase and was aware of "Ich", so I kind of thought that's what it was when I saw it. I've only had the fish for about two weeks now.  In further reading I have came across many columns of advice on how to treat Ich but no one that I can actually talk to.  Anyway, after coming to the conclusion that it was Ich, I went to Petco and was advised to buy some Mardel Freshwater CopperSafe.  I'm sure you're familiar with the product.  I loved the fact that you only had to use it once and it lasts for one month.  However in all of this reading about a hospital tank, although my original tank was only 2.5 gallons I purchased another smaller to serve as a hospital tank.  There are no other fish in the 2.5, but there are a few decorations in the other one and the new one (2nd attachment), is much smaller and clearer.   And now we get to my problem:  The CopperSafe has a ratio of (one teaspoon to treat four gallons).  Now it's easy to assume only 1/2 teaspoon for 2 gallons, but how do you break down the dosage for a small tank like the second one I bought?  I finally broke it down to 4 medicine drops.  I was shying away from using my regular tank because I wanted to keep it clean and dry until my babies are ready to go back in. Also, I've heard that table salt is good for Ick - is this true? Please advise.  Please send responses to this E-mail address & XXXX@hotmail.com. < Get a 5 gallon plastic bucket and fill it 80% full. This will give you approximately four gallons. Put one teaspoon of the CopperSafe into the four gallons of water and use that water to replace the water in the hospital tank and also use it when you do water changes.-Chuck> <<betta2.jpg>>  <<Betta.jpg>> Thanks, Glanatta

Sick Siamese fighting fish Hi, I am pretty new to the whole thing, and lost my fish today. He was fine when I went to work yesterday, and when I came home he had lost his color completely, was breathing funny and not eating. He was also in the tank vertically with his mouth out of water. And this morning he seemed to have fungus or something growing on him skin. I have had him for a few months and up until yesterday he was fine. The only thing I have changed is a week ago I bought a new tank for my axolotl, and bought a little box to hang over the side of the tank to put him in. Everything else, food and temperature was the same. I only realized today that I needed to have the temperature warmer. I have another fighter fish and don't want to lose that one either. < For such a quick die off it makes me think that their was something in the water that did not agree with him. If the box was hanging outside the tank then some chemical such as a household cleaning solution may have drifted into the water. The fish may have been startled and hit his head on he top of the box and knocked himself out and drowned. If the water had not been changed in a awhile then their might have been a pH crash if you have very soft water. IF the box was one of those Betta barracks that fits inside the tank then I think the water from the axolotl had high ammonia and killed the Betta while the axolotl is much more tolerant of the ammonia in the water.-chuck> Thanks, Kylie

Lethargic Betta - 08/05/2004 I recently changed the water in my fish bowl...now my beautiful Beta is lethargic and laying on the bottom and he won't eat.   <A few possibilities here - first and foremost, did you use a water conditioner that removes chlorine and Chloramine on the new water, before putting the Betta in it?  Was the temperature the same as what he'd been in before?  Do you happen to test for pH?  If so, was that the same as his water before?> I changed the water again today thinking something could have been wrong with the water when I changed the first time, but he still isn't moving.  I only have him 9 months and I'm very upset about it.  Should I be testing pH... <I would.  I would even test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate, if at all possible.  As long as pH is somewhere between 6.5 and 8.0, and constant (as in, if it is 7.5, it is always 7.5, or if it is 6.8, it is always 6.8), Bettas are pretty tolerant of a wide range of pH.  Ammonia and nitrite should always be zero, and nitrate ideally less than 20ppm.> or is there something else I can do?   <Just be absolutely certain to remove chlorine and Chloramine from tapwater before use - these will burn the fish, perhaps severely, and make him sick.  If this is what has happened, I would recommend making up some new dechlorinated water (condition it before the water change) and transfer the Betta to the dechlorinated water right away.  Though chlorine will dissipate overnight (roughly), Chloramine will not; this is why it is crucial to use a conditioner.  If he's otherwise healthy, he will hopefully recover from the ordeal; just keep his water optimal.> He is breaking my heart! <We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for yah.  Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Betta Problem Hey Bob, <Hi Manuel, MacL here with you today, sorry about the delay in your response.> I need your help. <I'll do my best.> Chico is my Betta, whom I've had for about 15 months. He was the 2nd I bought, but he outlived Spartacus as well as each of the other 4 or 5 that I've had. He was as healthy as he's ever been until about 3 days ago, when I decided to change the water and add only rocks I'd picked up at the beach in Malibu to the bowl. I've had other fish that grew strange funguses and had died when other rocks and or half of shells were added to their bowl (I do keep them separate). But I took extra care, boiling the rocks and then baking them in the oven before repeating the process to ensure that any bacteria in the rocks would be eliminated. <If there was poison on the rock boiling and baking might not have taken care of it.> His 1 Gallon bowl looked amazing with the rocks, but his behavior changed soon thereafter. <sometimes fish held in a long term situation don't adjust well to major changes he could have been stressed for that. Also depending on the type of rock you added you could have changed the PH of the water he was used to. That could have bothered him as well.> He began to swim diagonally and changed colors, as he has done in the past when intimidated (when another bowl is placed next to his and the other Betta is bigger or more impressive). Chico's head is a dark black, his body turquoise, with a deeper and brighter turquoise  and purple fins. <He sounds lovely> There's also almost a transparent stripe down his side. When he changes colors, it can vary from the aforementioned to a pale grey )completely including the fins, with two deep blue racing stripes down his sides. He's amazing. He's also usually very aggressive. But he was acting different. Within about ten or 15 hours, I saw that there was something growing on his scales. He wasn't acting normal and I didn't want to watch it get worse, so I took him out and put him in another bowl (a 1/2 gallon, but with BettaMax). Tomorrow night, I'll change the water and have him in BettaMax for another 3 day/night stint before returning him to a gallon bowl and the surroundings he's always thrived in. <I think its smart to put him back the way he was, but I have to warn you he's getting fairly old for a Betta and this might be quite natural.> Now, he's acting himself, but a tail of film, it looks almost like he's shedding, is growing off each of those long useless fins (though I've always thought the length related to their age). I have my fingers crossed that I can heal him, but I would like to know if it is all or just some of the beach rocks. <You never know what a rock has been exposed to and I don't think that anything can actually tell you what its been exposed to without breaking it open and having chemical test run.>  I've heard of vinegar tests that indicate whether they're safe for Betta bowls, but I don't know how to administer the tests, and my Google searches lead me to boundless Betta related problems that do not address my question: how do I know which rocks are bad? <Unless you buy them in a pet store of some type and they are certified safe I would recommend assuming they are not.> I know Bettas don't usually live that long and a year and a half is a long and rich Betta life, but he's lived here longer than my x-girlfriend did, and has made been the ideal NYC roommate. What can I do to help him? <Put him back like he was before, treat with the BettaMax. I think you are on the right track. MacL>

Sick and dying fish To Whom it May Concern: It was recommended to me that I come to this site and ask you all for advice. My situation is fairly critical. I have 2 Bettas lost to unknown but suspected conditions, Camallanus infection is what I suspect but I cannot be positive since I have never dealt with any internal parasites. The first fish died of apparently no reason. She was a female Betta that lost appetite, was lethargic, and had clamped fins. She also developed some black on the tips of her tail fin so I suspected fin rot and started treating her for it with Jungle Fungus Clear. She died the next day with no other symptoms. Then a second female (I had all these fish in the same tank) became lethargic, lost appetite and was clamping her fins so I removed her and began treating her for internal parasites because after some research I had decided that must be what the problem was because she had no other outward symptoms. I treated her with Jungle Parasite Clear. The same day I started that treatment she got white stringy poo hanging from her and later on that turned into red stuff hanging out of her anus. After some research I had decided it must have been the Camallanus worm. Before I got the right medicine to treat her (I continued to treat her with the JPC) she died. Now I have another female who has stringy white poo, is lethargic, and has lost appetite. As of yet she does not have the red stuff hanging from her. I am currently treating her with Jungle Parasite Clear. I still have not gotten the correct medication to treat Camallanus. I also had another male in the same tank in a divided off portion but he has not exhibited any symptoms yet. He is still swimming actively and eating. I went ahead and treated him in the tank anyway to be safe. I also treated my other tank that has Neons and Otos because I used the same gravel vac on both tanks before any of the fish got sick. Everyone is currently being treated with Jungle Parasite Clear since it is the only medicine I have available. Lastly I now have a neon tetra that is sick, his symptoms are white patches on one side of him and something on his eye, same side. His color is fine other than the white patches and he is still swimming actively and eating. No stringy poo. I went ahead and separated him from the rest of the tank to be safe. Now I know it is probably not going to be very easy to help me with no pictures but I don't have a camera or I'd send some. So far I've got 2 dead fish, probably sick from the store, I haven't had them that long. I know, I know I'm supposed to QT and believe me I will never not QT again. I just need some advice for damage control. What are the best steps that I can take to save the remaining fish that I have? So far I've done some water changes and treated tanks with JPC. What else can I do? Do you think the neon's illness is related to the Bettas? I tend to think not because he is exhibiting totaling different symptoms so far. Please help me. < You have a lot of things going on so we will take it one step at a time. First the Bettas died from bloat/dropsy. This is an internal anaerobic bacterial infection that must be treated early to be successful. First you must keep you Bettas warm and clean. They are being stressed by one or all of the following reasons, (dirty water, wrong water temp, wrong food, uneaten food left over, bullied by other fish and or external stress). Treat with Metronidazole as soon as the fish stops eating. Follow the directions on the package. Do a 30% water change and service the filter before treatment. The Neon has an external bacterial infection. Treat the Neon with Furanace or Maracyn. If you ever treat the main tank with medication you need to be aware that it will affect the good bacteria that break down the fish waste. You can find these medications online at DrsFostersSmith.com.-Chuck> Sincerely, Linzy Brannan

Betta With Columnaris continued I think my Betta has body slime how do I treat it! he is a beautiful Betta but I have noticed white stringy stuff coming off of his body and I want to know what I can do to treat it I do not want to lose my Betta for he is so very beautiful? What are my options? < Do a water change and treat with Furanace. Try and keep him in a warm spot (80 degrees). Don't overfeed.-Chuck> WHAT IS FURNANCE?????? <<Hi there, What chuck was referring to was a medicine, that I think is rather hard to find.  Since the fish has Grayish-white stringy material covering much of the body; white or grey patches. (Not furry!) This is not a true fungus but a  bacterial infection known as Columnaris or Body Fungus.  Rather than looking for Furanace you can usually  Treat with Maracyn which I believe is much easier to find.  It's from the Mardel Medicine company, it can be found at any pet shop.  Good luck and I hope the Betta gets better. Signed -Magnus.>> <Hi, MikeD here today> << I HAVE A PROBLEM NOW!!!<Yes you do. Your caps key is stuck, making it difficult for old guys like me to read!> MY BETTA DOESN'T SEEM TO ENJOY THE HIGHER TEMPS I GOT IT UP TO ABOUT 80 DEGREES YESTERDAY AND I NOTICED MOST OF HIS COLORING WAS GONE<I've caught Bettas in the wild in Vietnam. Trust me, they evolved in 80 degree plus water>. HE IS A DARK RED BETTA AND WHEN I CHECKED ON HIM HE WAS A VERY PALE ORANGISH COLOR!<This is likely a result of excess body slime from the infection, not the temperature> NOW WHAT DO I DO? I HAVE MELAFIX WILL THIS WORK<NO> AS WELL I HAD PURCHASED THE MELAFIX FOR ANOTHER FISH BUT I CANT LEAVE MY HOUSE RIGHT NOW TO BUY MARACYN FOR IT WILL NOT STOP RAINING AND IT IS RAINING HARD WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS FOR RIGHT NOW!!<Hmmmm, 1) fix your caps key, 2) open an umbrella and 3) get some Maracyn (erythromycin) as soon as possible. Columnaris is a bacterial infection, thus requires an antibiotic to treat it. While I've not heard of Melafix doing any real harm, I do know it's a derivative of the Eucalyptus tree, much like Vick's Vaporub and definitely DOES NOT occur in SE Asia where the fish originated.>

My Betta has a blue film over her eyes and they seem to be swollen, can you help?   <Will try to help as much as I can.  Your Betta sounds as if he has eye fungus, and luckily it is treatable.  Make sure to keep up with water changes, Betta fish are notorious at become sick with fungus issues and it spreads quickly. The best way to be sure of the fishes health is to keep up on water changes and not overfeeding it.> I've been adding fungus eliminator to her water but it doesn't seem to be helping. <I used Fungus Eliminator on my school of Iridescent Sharks and at first I thought it worked, but I found that it required multiple treatments but still I didn't like the results.  So, I began searching for other products to deal with these fungus infection. I found that if I treat with MarOxy, which is offered by the Mardel company and is found in most pet shops that it worked quite well. Also, you can use Maracyn-Two, Maracyn, Tetracycline or TriSulfa to prevent secondary infections on your Betta.> Is she going to be blind or worse will she die?? <She shouldn't go blind, if the treatment works.  Just be sure to move quickly and treat, like I stated before Bettas get sick quick and especially dealing with fungus spreads fast on these little fish.> I really really miss the forums... posting questions and such.  Please lend me some advice. Angie <Good luck with your Betta, hope it returns to health. -Magnus>
Re: Betta issue with eye fungus
Thank you so much.  I have Maracyn two I will try that. <Treat the fungus with Maroxy, it's a different product that Maracyn.  I only suggest the Maracyn as a secondary treatment incase the fish has bacterial infections that come about from the primary fungal infection.  Sorry for the confusion on that.-Magnus>

Betta has body slime 7/28/04  I think my Betta has body slime how do I treat it! he is a beautiful  Betta but I have noticed white stringy stuff coming off of his body and I want to know what I can do to treat it I do not want to lose my Betta for he is so very beautiful? What are my options? < Do a water change and treat with Furanace. Try and keep him in a warm spot (80 degrees). Don't overfeed.-Chuck> WHAT IS FURNANCE?????? <<Hi there, What Chuck was referring to was a medicine, that I think is rather hard to find.  Since the fish has Grayish-white stringy material covering much of the body; white or grey patches. (Not furry!) This is not a true fungus but a  bacterial infection known as Columnaris or Body Fungus.  Rather than looking for Furanace you can usually  Treat with Maracyn which I believe is much easier to find.  It's from the Mardel Medicine company, it can be found at any pet shop.  Good luck and I hope the Betta gets better. Signed -Magnus.>> <Hi, MikeD here today> << I HAVE A PROBLEM NOW!!!<Yes you do. Your caps key is stuck, making it difficult for old guys like me to read!> MY BETTA DOESN'T SEEM TO ENJOY THE HIGHER TEMPS I GOT IT UP TO ABOUT 80 DEGREES YESTERDAY AND I NOTICED MOST OF HIS COLORING WAS GONE <I've caught Bettas in the wild in Vietnam. Trust me, they evolved in 80 degree plus water>.  HE IS A DARK RED BETTA AND WHEN I CHECKED ON HIM HE WAS A VERY PALE ORANGISH COLOR! <This is likely a result of excess body slime from the infection, not the temperature> NOW WHAT DO I DO? I HAVE MELAFIX WILL THIS WORK<NO> AS WELL I HAD PURCHASED THE MELAFIX FOR ANOTHER FISH BUT I CANT LEAVE MY HOUSE RIGHT NOW TO BUY MARACYN FOR IT WILL NOT STOP RAINING AND IT IS RAINING HARD WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS FOR RIGHT NOW!!<Hmmmm, 1) fix your caps key, 2) open an umbrella and 3) get some Maracyn (erythromycin) as soon as possible. Columnaris is a bacterial infection, thus requires an antibiotic to treat it. While I've not heard of Melafix doing any real harm, I do know it's a derivative of the Eucalyptus tree, much like Vick's Vaporub and definitely DOES NOT occur in SE Asia where the fish originated.>
Another satisfied customer - Betta illness 7/28/04 
hey guys thanks for taking a whole week to answer my question glad to see how reliable you all are. and I really appreciate the attitude with which MikeD wrote to me with! blah blah blah! did my writing in caps make you wait a week to write a  response? do you read better on certain days of the week MikeD? maybe you were just being lazy? was that it? At this point I didn't even need your response! what the hell for! you took too damn long to answer the question!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! really appreciate it guys! I knew I could count on you!!!!! Oh and by the way my Betta is just fine but really no thanks to  any one of you!!!!!!!!!!!! < Unfortunately when you responded to my answer I was out of town and the other crew members had to fill in so you got caught in limbo for awhile, sorry. If you ever need to find something that you local store doesn't carry then you can always go online to DrsFostersSmith.com. They are always open and can deliver almost anywhere anytime. I am in California and different areas of the country sometimes don't carry all the same items. All of the medications that I recommend are always found on this website with descriptions and prices. They have a free catalog. The advice from my fellow crew members was right on the money. The 80 degree water temp alone may have saved your fish by increasing his resistance to the disease so I don't think your question to the crew was a waste of time. Glad to hear your Betta is better.-Chuck>

Sick Betta Hello, <Hi John, MacL here with you tonight> I hope you can help me. I am fish sitting my daughter's betta. This morning when I went to feed him, he was staying on the bottom of a 2 gallon aquarium. He came up for the food but didn't eat it. I noticed a lump on his right side about half way between his head and tail fin. <Not good, sounds like it might be a tumor of some sort.> He will lay on the bottom with his head pointed up sometimes, otherwise he just stays on the bottom. Every now and then if he sees something on top he will quickly come up and then go back down. The back of his body is turned a little past the lump. <Sounds like a condition that happens with old age as well. I would suggest you also check out the FAQs on Bettas at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaq2.htm to see if something there sounds similar.>  I did a 50% water change but don't have access right now to a thermometer or PH testing materials. I tried adding some Epsom salt after the water change. <Works well for constipation.>  He is still staying on the bottom. He is almost four years old. <Actually pretty old for a Betta. So obviously he's been well taken care of.> He was mostly beige when she bought him and so color loss is hard to tell. Any help you could give me would be appreciated. I don't want to lose him. Thank you.

Listless Betta hello,<Hi, MikeD here>     about 3 weeks ago I purchased two male Bettas and tank that is made for Bettas<As in a divided tank with a clear, see though divider?>, they are in the same tank, technically, but separated.  one of the fish is larger and was much more aggressive than the other, constantly trying to fight<This may be the source of your problem right here. If allowed to "combat" even their own reflection non-stop, the fish have been known to die of exhaustion.>.  they both seemed healthy and energetic. however, upon my last water change, about 3 days ago, the larger Betta has grown lifeless.  he has faded, he was once a brilliant blue and red, but now is a white-ish gray in his midsection and face.  his fins seem clamped and he just rests at the bottom of the tank.  now and again he jumps to the top to eat, but makes kind of lame attempts and if he does not get the food on the first try (usually he misses...this illness has severely impaired his accuracy), he sinks immediately<This could be old age, exhaustion, a combination of the two or possibly added to by having allowed the water quality to deteriorate>.  his breathing seems to have slowed a bit.  he ignores the other fish now as well.<You really should block the partition  with something opaque. I suspect this divided tank is to allow a male and a female to get acquainted for breeding purposes, otherwise it would seem pointless and cruel> when I first bought the Bettas, I filled the tank with Betta water, purchased at the pet store.<That's a new one on me. I suspect it's just RO water>  at the last water change, I used tap-water, at approximately 80 degrees.  I do not have city water, so there is no chlorine in it, but I can only assume that (the change)  is the problem, since nothing else is different<If you have very hard water it would definitely contribute to the situation, but likely not cause it>. for about an hour, there was a plant in his tank, which he did not seem to like, so I removed it<I would think a live plant would always be a good idea>.  the other Betta is doing fine.  he is eating regularly and is still energetic, which made me think that maybe the other fish is just older<Quite possible>, but I cannot understand what suddenly made him this way<Again, exhaustion>. I am very concerned for my Betta, and treated the water today with "Betta remedy" and a water conditioner<I'm also leery of panaceas. It sounds like your LFS has happily bonded with your wallet>.  he seemed to perk up for a few hours and some of his color returned, but, much to my disappointment, he has returned almost to the exact same lethargic state he was in before.  should I switch back to the Betta water?<Couldn't hurt, but removing him to a separate container might be much better>  I've heard of using RidIch<NO!> but after reading the symptoms of that, I'm not sure that is what he has.  I've also heard of Acriflavine and tetracycline<Using medication indiscriminately without knowing what you're treating for is a guaranteed way to kill fish>.  I really am not sure what to do for my fish.  I hope you have some suggestions for me.<Again, my suggestion is to remove him from the sight of the other fish and hope for the best. Often really spectacular appearing males are retired breeders, thus almost "out of time>  thank you!!<You're welcome>

BETTA DYING <Hi Wendy, MacL here with you tonight.> Quick question for you....  We recently had a Betta die after only 3 weeks of having him. Am curious as to what happened so that it doesn't happen again. He was in a nicely sized jar in a controlled temperature, fed according to the guidelines on the bottle, and his tank cleaned every one to two weeks. He was fine in the morning then by that afternoon his head was white and he was head down on the bottom..  Any clue as to what happened? <Would be very hard to tell without seeing the water chemistry tests but let me also ask, you didn't mention whether your water needed dechlorinating or dechloraminating. Chloramines or chlorine can kill a fish pretty quickly and unfortunately some pet stores don't mention this needs to be done for Betta's as well as other fish.>

Betta loss We were using Distilled Water...<That should be okay for a Betta. Wendy did you see anything on the fish at all? Any dots? or spots or fuzzies? Just trying to think of things that might have killed him. I am sorry for your loss I know how easy it is to get attached to them. MacL> <<Bettas, in fact, no aquatic life will do well, live for long in distilled water. RMF>>

Another Bloaty Betta - 07/14/2004 I have a female Betta who I'm pretty sure is suffering from dropsy, <Please understand that "dropsy" is a *symptom* of disease, much the same as having a fever is a symptom of something - maybe you have the flu, maybe the chickenpox, but the fever itself is not the illness.  Dropsical conditions can be the result of constipation, parasitic infestation, bacterial infection, or even a tumor.> I found some info on your site about the Epsom salts, so I added some to her tank, she seems to be perking up a bit, still swollen.  I've also given her some peas which she seems to love.   <Great.  If she is constipated, this should help.> I was just wondering how often do I need to add the Epsom salts?   <How big is her tank?  You could probably do a 50% water change, give or take, and dose again in a few days.> I'm also treating the tank with Maracyn-Two, after researching (a lot) on the internet I found that the Maracyn may help if caught in time. <By this I assume you suspect bacterial infection.  To treat internal bacterial infection, the medication is best ingested.  Food medicated with Oxytetracycline is the best route, in my opinion.> Hopefully I've caught it early on, she was swelled yesterday when I got up so I went straight and bought the Maracyn.  I also went and bought a heater (after reading your posts) hoping that it will help also.   <A constant temperature is always a good thing.> I did a 50% water change before I gave her the meds and the Epsom salt.  I change her (their) water at least once to twice a week, <Who are her tankmates?> depending on how dirty the water is.   <Do you test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?> I use start right conditioner and I was adding aquarium salt until I saw that that would or could actually worsen her condition.   <Not sure I agree with that....  where did you find this info?  Aquarium salt should be okay, if used only in very low doses (as recommended for freshwater aquaria).  This will also not interfere with the Epsom 'salt' (magnesium sulfate, really).> I bought some Betta fix as well ... <I don't put much trust in these Melaleuca "cure-all" products....  They seem more of a human placebo than a fish medicine.  But, if it eases your mind - I don't see how it could be harmful.> I don't really know what to do, I'm just hoping something will work and pull her through.   <I encourage you to visit our forums, as one of our forum members is currently experiencing a very similar issue.  See here:  http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=21151&tstart=0&trange=15 .  Also, do a search in the forums for "Bernie", and you'll find another tale of a swollen Betta, also jam-packed with information.  Please feel free to include your own experiences and questions in the forums, as well; there're a lot of helpful folks there.> Thank you so much for your time. Angie <And thank *you* for your care of your Betta.  Wishing you and your splendid splendens well,  -Sabrina>

Another Bloaty Betta - II - 07/14/2004 Thelma (female Betta) has a friend "Louise" and also the male Betta, 3 Neons and 1 bottom feeder plus 1 algae eater.  It's a 10 gallon tank, do you think that is to much?   <No, not at all.  Though I wouldn't keep a male in with the females full-time; his amorous affections can get too aggressive for them - he might even harm or kill them, trying to convince them to breed.  Uh, also - have you considered that the "swollenness" might just be an egg mass?  Maybe she thinks the Mister is cute.  Do you see an ovipositor (egg tube) in front of her anal fin?  It'll look a bit like a white hangy speck, right where the anus is.> Also I've been feeding peas and they actually seem to be crazy about it, well except for Thelma the one who really needs it.   <I think at this point, it'd be best to quarantine her and observe, or at least separate her while still keeping her in the main tank, in such a way that you can feed her specifically (perhaps a breeder's net, with several plants or pieces of plants in it) - that way you can make sure she doesn't OVER eat, and make sure she gets the foods she NEEDS.> At first she ate it very well ...now she doesn't really want it.  I felt sorry for her so I gave just a sprinkle of freeze dried brine shrimp, which is the only thing my crazy fish will eat.  I think I have them spoiled.   <Indeed :) > After reading much of the info on the net I'm sure I was overfeeding, 3 times a day - brine shrimp.   <Do keep in mind that brine shrimp are nutritionally worthless....  I'd get your pals onto a healthier diet, slowly; include vegetable matter and also a high quality staple flake or pellet.  If you were overfeeding, I think that might be the whole problem; Bettas will eat until they die, given the opportunity.  So, with all due luck, she's just plain fat.> Thanks again for your help.  She is still swollen but she is a little perkier than yesterday. <Good to hear.  We've got our fingers crossed for her!  Wishing you and your Betta girl well,  -Sabrina>

Epsom Salts in Betta Tank Well she does have egg's and her tube is there but she is swollen everywhere.  She and the male have already done their thing and the eggs actually hatched but no luck they all died.  I will put my tank divider back in and keep an eye on her.  Seems all I've done for the past week is stay glued to the fish tank.  She is indeed probably overweight but the fact that she has the pine comb look makes me think it's more.  I'm hoping that's all it is.  She's hanging in there!  : ) thank you Sabrina, you've been most helpful!! < Sounds like your fish has come down with dropsy also called bloat. It is an internal infection caused  by anaerobic bacteria it the gut where a blockage has occurred. Recommend Metronidazole treatment as per the directions on the package. Your fish sounds like it is pretty far along. The key is to catch it early as soon as the fish stops eating.-Chuck>

Betta Fish Missing Fins I bought my cousin a Betta fish for her ninth birthday.  He was doing great for the first couple days, adjusting to his new home.  We had a problem with his filter the first night but immediately turned the water flow down and fixed it.  Well, my little sister (she's 13) changed the water the other day, I don't know if she turned the filter back up or not, but I noticed today that Phil, the Betta was laying up against the filter.  It looks as if his fins were sucked into the motor.  I feel absolutely terrible about it.  Now, Phil has nearly no tail or underside fins.  He seems to have no weight to counteract the weight of his head and often ends up head down in the corner of the tank.  Will his fins grow back, and will Phil be okay.  Ashley, Phil's owner and I, are praying that he will.  Also, is there anything that I can buy to help his fins grow back.  Please help us!!!!!!!!!!   < Phil comes from an area where the water moves very slowly, almost stagnant. They aren't designed for fast moving water situations. I would turn off the filter or at least keep the intake tube away from Phil. The fins will grow back it the damage has not reached the body of the fish. The fins will not grow back as long or as straight but they will be functional.-Chuck>

New Betta Hey guys I just bought a beautiful red veil tail Betta from a LPS and I just want to make sure he is ok. when I bought him he was active and looked free of disease and all still looks well. I noticed that the top of the water seems to have something floating on the top could it be body slime, < Could be but most likely it is dust that has liquefied on the surface. Pour it off and refill with treated water and see if it returns.> it is slightly white stringy stuff. I also want to know how to keep a constant temp I have my Betta-Senor Pizza- in glass vase sitting on my computer table away from any drafts and stuff and the air in my house us usually constant round 73-74 degrees but when I wake up the temp in the tank is at 69-70 and during the day it is at 74-75. what can I do to keep it constant and warmer! I think that is too cold for him, right? < You could place a small reading/night lamp on him at night to keep him warmer during the chilly evening. Bettas can take water temps in to the mid 80's and probably higher.> also I haven't seem him eat! when I bought him, I bought him at night so I didn't feed him till morning when I feed the rest of my fish at 730. he didn't eat till later that day and today he hasn't eaten is he not hungry or sick? help plzzzzzz < Warmer water temps will increase his appetite. Just don't over feed. it will make him sick.-Chuck>

Betta has Body Slime I think my Betta has body slime how do I treat it! he is a beautiful Betta but I have noticed white stringy stuff coming off of his body and I want to know what I can do to treat it I do not want to lose my Betta for he is so very beautiful? What are my options? < Do a water change and treat with Furanace. Try and keep him in a warm spot (80 degrees). Don't overfeed.-Chuck>
More Betta Body Slime
I think my Betta has body slime how do I treat it! he is a beautiful  Betta but I have noticed white stringy stuff coming off of his body and I want to know what I can do to treat it I do not want to lose my Betta  for he is so very beautiful? What are my options? < Do a water change and treat with Furanace. Try and keep him in a warm spot (80 degrees). Don't overfeed.-Chuck> WHAT IS FURNANCE?????? <<Hi there, What chuck was referring to was a medicine, that I think is rather hard to find.  Since the fish has Grayish-white stringy material covering much of the body; white or grey patches. (Not furry!) This is not a true fungus but a  bacterial infection known as Columnaris or Body Fungus.  Rather than looking for Furanace you can usually  Treat with Maracyn which I believe is much easier to find.  It's from the Mardel Medicine company, it can be found at any pet shop.  Good luck and I hope the Betta gets better. Signed -Magnus.>>

Betta Help I need help with a Betta who looked like he had tail rot and clamped fins. Anyway I have been treating him since Saturday with Maracyn-Two & I am unsure if I should do a water change? He currently lives in a 1 gallon tank with no type of filtration & I normally do a 25% water change every 2nd or 3rd day and a complete water change one a week. I treated him the first day with 2 teaspoons of Maracyn-two and then 1 teaspoon each day after, I am currently on the 3rd day of treatment and his water is REALLY CLOUDY & the directions that I have state that NO WATER change is necessary when treating. I am afraid of over dosing him. I was going to do a 25% water change tomorrow before treating him with another dose of Maracyn-two. If any one has used this treatment in a bowl/1 gallon take I would appreciate any advise. I also treat the water with Novaqua conditioner & fish protector and a pinch of aquarium salt. Thank you, Jennifer <<Jennifer, it is always advisable to do water changes between treatments, clean water is half the battle. I see no problem with going ahead and doing your 25% water changes. Good luck. -Gwen>>

Betta Parasite Hi!  There is something reddish brown hanging from my Betta's gill/neck.  It falls off and onto the bottom of the bowl after an hour or less.  This happened once yesterday and two times today.  I have increased the fish's food (flake kind) intake recently and the "goo" is the same color.  I appreciate your help! Thanks! Sincerely, Tracy Bible <<Tracy, it's hard to say what that could be. Any way you can take a pic and scan it? Please email the pic to us, we will take a look. In the meantime, continue to do regular weekly water changes, and do NOT overfeed! -Gwen>> 

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

My Betta fish Hey! I found your website while searching for information on my Betta fish. Jewels, my Betta, died last night . Earlier that day, I was cleaning her tank and she seemed fine. She was swimming and eating like usual. I made sure that I left the water out long enough to become room temperature and I placed her and her new water back into the cleaned bowl. She seemed fine after that too. A few hours later, she died. I've had her for maybe a year or so. I was just wondering what I might have done wrong? Thanks for the help- < By letting the water sit you may have gotten rid of the chlorine but you may still have a problem with Chloramine. This form of chlorine is much more stable and much more deadly to fish. To get rid of it you need to add a water conditioner made to get rid of Chloramine. Many cities are now changing over the water supplies to Chloramine. Check with your water supplier.-Chuck>                  Sarah

Sick Betta Hi, We have a 20L heated, filtered, cycle tank with live plants and gravel, one male fighter, six tetras, two cat fish, one sucker fish , one snail. Usually change 1/3 of the water once a week. Change water is treated according to instructions with water conditioner, treatment for pH neutral, salts, bacteria etc. All fish were happy and healthy until yesterday morning when we found our beta fighter with a hole near its tale, could see through. Needless to say we are very frustrated. He is still alive, and eating but is mostly on the bottom of the tank (had to separate from the big tank into a mini floating tank) and does not look good at all. Please help. <<Hello. Where is the hole located? On the body of the fish? on the tail? It might help if you could give me stats, like your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. What species of tetra is it? Some tetras can be very aggressive, and Betta fins make good targets. I would recommend removing the Betta permanently to a large bowl (or better, his own small tank) and keep his water clean so he can heal properly without harassment from the unknown tetras...you can add a bit of Methylene blue to his bowl water to prevent fungus or secondary infection while he heals up. -Gwen>>

Plant Betta My Betta is 10 months and has been very healthy.  He is in a large plant vase with a bamboo top plant and a small, feathery green water plant.  this set-up has kept the bowl and water very clean and clear with minimal intervention. He is fed M-W-F. On Monday the Betta started to act lethargic and erratic when swimming, like he was drunk.  We looked up all Betta problems.  He does not have:  fin rot, white spots, velvet, enlarged eyes, or anything on his gills. He has not changed color.  I don't think he's being overfed.  On Wednesday, the feathery green plant in the bowl erupted in little brown balls and black dots.  The Betta was struggling to breathe.  We dumped the plant, changed half the water, and added Aquarisol drops.  Do you know what this is, and is there anything else we can do.  Thanks.  His "parents". <<Dear Parents; Yes, you can do some water changes. Do not add any more Aquarisol, it is an anti-parasitic copper medication and unless the fish has actual external parasites, it will only make things worse. Copper is highly toxic to all living things, and your fish is already suffering from enough toxicity problems. Chances are good that the ammonia level is quite high in his water. Ammonia is liquid waste that the fish produces. Ammonia test kits are available at all decent pet stores, and will cost you around 6 or 7 bucks or so. Please test your water! Ideally, this fish needs a small 10 gallon tank with a filter and regular weekly partial water changes, done at the same temperature, which should be 75-80 degrees F. Bettas CAN be kept at room temperature, but I have found they are much better off if the temp is a bit warmer. Keep the temp stable. If you are intent on keeping the Betta in his current vase, please test the ammonia and do regular weekly water changes on the vase in order to keep your Betta healthy. The practice of keeping Bettas in vases has long been frowned upon by true fishkeeping enthusiasts, due to the very "minimal intervention" methods that people buy them for. While popular, it is really NOT the way to keep any fish alive long-term, and in fact, some overly avid fishkeepers find it a cruel method, as water changes are the ONLY way to keep fish healthy for any length of time. Please keep in mind that crystal clear water is not necessarily "clean", nor toxin-free! Please, do some research on the 'Net, and buy yourself an ammonia test kit! Your Betta will thank you :) -Gwen>>

Floaty Bloaty Betta - 06/05/2004 Hi, I came across your site while doing a search on Google to try and save my Betta. <Welcome, then; hope the site proves useful to you.> When I went to feed him this morning I thought he was dead. <Yikes!> He was floating on his side on top of the water, although he wasn't dead, just floating there, and he moved when I gave the tank a wobble. I put some food in the tank and he ate it, so he still has his appetite. <Ah, a very good sign, indeed.> His tank water was also due for a change, so I changed that, and didn't put any of the pebbles or fake plant that he usually has in there, just plain neutralized water. <Might make him feel better to have some sort of cover in there; I'd add the plant back in, or get him some java moss or such to have to hide in.> He seems very jumpy too, and if I wobble the tank he will dart around it very fast, which he doesn't usually do. <I, too, would be jumpy if I were in a clear box with nowhere to hide - granted, that's obviously not the cause or sole solution to the problem, but a stressed fish doesn't recover well from illness; I would definitely offer him something to hide in. Again, java moss serves this purpose excellently, and requires only very little light. Great for Betta bowls.> I also noticed that his fins were much shorter, and after doing a search I've concluded that he has fin rot. <Sounds quite possible.> But I am unable to find out why he's floating on top of his tank. His belly is very bloated, and if he tries to swim down he really struggles and then eventually gives up and floats back to the top, where he'll occasionally move around the side of the tank, swimming on his side because he's unable to swim like normal. After searching through the pages on disease in Bettas on your site, I am unable to determine what it may be that's causing him to do this. <A few possibilities, here; first and, hopefully, likeliest - simple constipation. This can cause the fish to bloat up (unable to pass waste), and possibly be gassy (therefore floaty). Easiest fix for this is to feed foods of high roughage content, like frozen/thawed peas (just squeeze it out of the shell, offer a tiny portion), adult brine shrimp, or daphnia. Feed *extremely* sparingly. Another possibility is internal bacterial infection, perhaps affecting one or more internal organs. Sadly, this is often quite hard to fix. Feeding food impregnated with Oxytetracycline may help. A third possibility is internal parasites. Do you see any poo? What does it look like? Normal, clear, stringy, what? Fixing internal parasites is best done by feeding food medicated with Metronidazole (for protozoa) or Levamisole or Piperazine (for large parasites, like worms).> Another site described an untreatable disease called dropsy, <Dropsy is a symptom, not a disease. Though your fish is dropsical, it could be any of the above diseases that he is afflicted with.> where they are bloated and their scales stick out, but my fishes scales don't stick out. <Also good. Scales sticking out most often suggests bacterial infection.> And they mentioned nothing about floating on their side on top of the water. <Which makes me hope that you're just looking at a case of constipation. Of course, bacterial infection affecting the swim bladder will cause the fish to lose control of buoyancy.> On your site I read someone had a constipated fish who was bloated, so I put a few Epsom salts in his water just incase it was that. <Good. Use one to two tablespoons per ten gallons.> Another person had a fish floating on top and it said its usually environmentally related.. <Mm, can be, but the bloating indicates that there's something more going on.> which it may be, because about 2 or so weeks ago we put our fishes tank inside a larger tank with a turtle in it, because fishes tank was getting very cold because its winter here, and the turtle tank has a heater in it. <Have you tested ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, in both the Betta tank and the turtle tank?> We've only had him for about 5 months tops, so I didn't think it would be old age setting in just yet. <Agreed.> Do you have any ideas on what it may be? Or what could help my fish? <Just as above.... if you can email a photograph showing the bloating, that may help me try to figure out what the problem is, but otherwise, that's about the most I can offer. Also, if you do feel the need to medicate, and don't feel confidant mixing up your own medicated food, you might try here: http://www.flguppiesplus.com/_wsn/page3.html > Thank you! Megan <You bet, Megan. Wishing your Betta a swift recovery, -Sabrina> 

Betta Question I have a Betta, well beyond 2 years old now, that is acting rather funny. He is normally a dark purply-blue color, but lately his lower fins and lower part of his body have been turning red, and the underside of his head had become really light. He has just lately ((I noticed it today)) has been having trouble getting up tot he top of his tank to get food or air. I have decided to take out some of the water, so he doesn't have to use so much effort to reach the surface, but I don't know what else to do. I also noticed that lately he hasn't dance ((well, dance isn't exactly the word...)) to any of my music, which he always used to do, and I can only ever get any response from him by playing the old music from when I first got him. He also tends to sleep a lot, the entire time when I'm asleep, the entire school day, and sometimes much of the time I'm at home. I know that he isn't under stress, or is discontent with anything, as he's a mood fish and changes color by the amount of stress he has, and he's been a very nice dark shade for the last several months. I was wondering if these are just signs of old age, to if this is my years of horrid care (I don't know how he ever survived)) finally catching up with him. < I am thinking you Betta is finally getting up in years. If possible I would heat up the water to 80 degrees and see if that peps him up. I would also try some live food. Sometimes a change in diet helps with fresh vitamins and minerals.-Chuck> 

My Betta died this morning!!! I am totally heart broken! My Betta Jaike died this morning at about 11:10 this morning. It was terrible to watch. He spent all morning twitching violently till he finally died. I had the hardest time with it! I wish I would have paid attention to the twitching earlier! I didn't realize that it meant that something was wrong, I saw it before but since he would stop the second I came to the bowl I didn't think anything of it. Stupid me!!!!! well I do have a few questions. I was wondering if my other Betta Tung po would get sick too. when I did water changes I used the same net and would use the same container( never together of course) to keep them while I cleaned their vases! Tung Po seems ok this morning though it is almost as if he is looking for Jaike because I kept their vases next to each other so they could see each other! but I got up this morning he was, I think, a little more active than usual (I thought this was because maybe Jaike spent all night twitching and stuff and they still next to each other. I don't thing he has any parasites or diseases, coloring looks normal and he is eating and acting fine I guess. I just want to have to go thru the same thing all over again cause this morning was my worst fish death experience ever!!! Any suggestions for Tung Po? This may seem stupid but is he lonely, should I get another Betta to put next to Tung PO or will he be ok? Sorry for such a long email guys <Sorry for the death of your Betta. I would watch the second Betta closely for signs of distress. Get hold of us when things are noticeably different and the fish looks like in trouble. I would also recommend that you get a book on Bettas too. I think you will find the info useful in keeping and understanding Bettas for the long haul. The Bettas are always interested in each other. They are always guarding their territory against all other Bettas. -Chuck> 

Is my Betta sick? hey guys I have a two Bettas Tung Po and Jaike Betta, both in there own vases with gravel at the bottom. I do a full water change every week to every week and a half, I have been using Amquel plus for water conditioner, and just recently bought tetra aqua brand water conditioner. today is Friday and I did a water change this Monday with the new water conditioner. today I noticed that Jaike Betta's head was turned brownish from his usual dark blue, almost black color! also his the tips of his tail is turning a brownish color from his usual bluish green color and his seems to be twitching a lot. He swims like normal and stuff but I have noticed lately that sometimes his is just twitching. What could this be? I did a water change this morning and put in sum aquarium salt. please help <probably a parasite of some sort, I would treat with Copper Power, Good luck, IanB>

Involuntarily floating Betta... Hey guys - I just recently noticed my beta is looking kinda goofy and seems to be involuntarily floating and turning sideways at the top of his tank. His belly right behind his gills looks kinda bloated... My boyfriend told me betas "sink" rather than float when they die, so I was wondering if you know what's wrong with my fishy? He is frantically trying to swim downward, but as soon as he gets down into the tank again, he floats back up. I watched him to see if he was just swimming goofy, or if he wasn't controlling his "actions". If you could lend me a hand that would be great! < Goldfish and Bettas seem to be having problems this week. When you let the Bettas water go to long between water changes or the water gets too cold then the fish's ability to fight disease begins to break down. Treat the water with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package and do a 30% water change every other day until the fish begins to eat.-Chuck>

My fancy Fred My wonderful Fred has caught a cold of some sort. I was out of work for a week and a half and he didn't get enough attention. He wasn't eating right and was very mopey and sad when I got back. His fins started to fall apart (the guy at the pet store called it "fin rot") and suggested a product called MelaFix. At the same time I saw a beautiful female Betta and tough after Fred got better, I would introduce Holly to him. Well I added the MelaFix, and the Stress Coat (that was suggested on the MelaFix as well as the pet store guy). Kept the water up and got him to eat better. Started looking very nice and was getting excited to meet Holly (had her bowl next to his tank, and they would check each other out all the time) <or so I had thought>. So the 5th day I decided to add Holly to the tank and watched to make sure that everything went smooth. There were no problems that I noticed while observing the two. However the next morning when I came into work, It looked as though my Fred was dead floating in the reefs. As I began to fish him out he began to move and so pulled him out of the tank into his little bowl to begin treatment right away, but not only did he look like he was sick, but that maybe the other female fish had fought with him and really tore him up? I do not know what to do now, I am still treating him, and he is still fighting. He doesn't want to give up <yeah for my Fabulous Fred~> but I do not want him to suffer either. Today he started to eat good again, but I am still concerned about his fins and his open wounds. How can I help him? He is waiting for my help, and I have tried what I know, the MelaFix says 3 days, but it seems to be taking longer. I would like ANY help/guidance/suggestions pretty much whatever you have to help me keep my beautiful wonderful Fred alive and happy and healthy..... thank you , thank you....... thank you < Welcome to the wonder world of Bettas. The only time Bettas are social with each other is when they are ready to breed. Apparently they thought she was ready but she really wasn't and they tore into each other. Your male suffered the worse of it which does happen sometimes. Never leave Bettas alone together!!! The fact that he is eating is a good sign. The Melafix is good but you can help him along by heating the water up to 80 degrees and adding a teaspoon of rock salt per 1 gallon to help build up a slime coat. If you see fungus( white cottony growth) then that needs to be treated. -Chuck> 

Betta With White Chin Hello! I'm not sure if this is where I ask a question or not but here goes... if this is not the correct way to ask, can you please email me back and let me know the appropriate place? Thank you! I've been looking at your message boards & FAQ's for a while tonight and found problems that sound somewhat similar, but nothing that really matches my Betta's problem... There are actually 2 Bettas that I have questions about... one is my friend's fish who lives at work (his name is Piggy) -- just recently he started to lose all color on his chin (he was a bright blue and now he's turning white). Then he started to lose color on his body and was very sluggish -- he also tries to bury himself under the rocks in his bowl so that he can nap. I changed his water and we've been giving him Betta Fix for about a week now. He looked better after the water change but then went back to having the white chin. We haven't changed his surroundings or done anything differently... do you think it's just old age? My friend has had him for probably 7 months now. Piggy lives in a fish bowl that's about 1 gallon. He's got fake plants and river rocks at the bottom and is fed pellets once daily except on Saturday and Sunday. And my Betta fish, Squishy, who lives at home, is starting to show the same signs of a white chin but still has color all over his body. He's always been a very laid-back fish and has showed no signs of a personality change (being more sluggish, napping at the bottom, etc.) Squishy lives in a 1.5 gallon fish bowl with fake plants and a river-rock bottom. I don't know pH levels, etc... he's always been fine with how I change the water -- I use tap water and then use drops from the pet store to get rid of the bad chemicals. I've had Squish for about 5.5 months now. Any help would be really great!!! Thank you!!! --Terran:) <<Dear Terran; The ONLY way to know what's really going on is to test your water. I will assume there are no filters on the bowls that these two fish are being kept in, so I will advise you to buy yourself an ammonia test kit, and test the ammonia in your bowl to see how high the level is. You should try to do enough regular water changes to keep the ammonia level no higher than .25. This will ensure the best health possible, within your control. Age may be a factor, but all fish will do better with good water quality, and that means water testing and regular water changes. -Gwen>>

Sick Betta Hi, I've had my Betta, Sammy, for a little over a year now. He's sick and laying on the bottom of his bowl. Doesn't swim, just lays there breathing very labored (at least it looks labored to me). This is the first fish I've ever owned and I can't believe how close I've gotten to this little guy. He's been healthy until a week ago. I need to tell you this before I go on because I'm sure it must have something to do with him. Our house is cold, so I was keeping his water warm by sitting his 1/2 gallon bowl on top of a heating pad. If I kept it on low, it kept the water at 80. Perfect! Then the heating pad malfunctioned about 2 months ago. One day I went to feed him and he was just laying there on the bottom all listless and I checked the temp of the water and it was almost 88! So, I immediately took the bowl off the pad and let the water cool naturally. Went out and found a small heater that I could put in the bowl. But, I think the experience damaged him in some way. :( After that he never seemed excited when I fed him. He would always swim around shake himself when he saw me go for the food. Afterwards, he just laid there on the bottom. But, he would eat and still blow bubbles. For about the last week, nothing. He won't eat, won't swim, never goes near the top of the bowl. When I watch him, he just lays there and I can see him breathing. Looks like he's having a difficult time of it. There is no bloating, no signs of fungus, no bumps. I don't know what to do. I've read through the FAQs, but I'm so new to owning a fish, I'm not sure if any of those situations could be mine. Can you help? He's in a glass bowl on top of my bookcase in the dining room. I change his water about every two weeks. I use regular tap water, let it sit for 24 hours then add it to the clean bowl. I wash everything in really hot water, then rinse it twice, and dry it all with paper towels. I have those colored glass beads on the bottom. Once I add the water to the bowl, I use aquarium salt (2 to 3 grains), and 12 drops of BettaFix Remedy for stress. I feed him BettaMin food. A pinch every morning, and bloodworms maybe once a week. Sherie <<Hello Sherie; it's really hard to say what the problem could be. Bettas can generally handle heat, they are surface breathers and so they would not have a problem with the lack of oxygen. Chances are it was the stress of the ordeal coupled with insufficient water changes. Your best bet would be to do the water changes much more often, like twice a week instead of every two weeks. This should perk him up. Always make sure the water change water is the exact same temp as the bowl water! For the next couple of weeks, feed him only every other day. And do not overfeed to make up the difference, he is probably already overfed. -Gwen>>

Disappearing Fins Hi, my Betta is about a year old and he has been fine since I got him, but I just noticed yesterday that his dorsal fins are almost gone. they used to be full and now they have split apart, and there are gaps between them. when I say them I mean that there are 3 small spaghetti looking fins on his back and one of the pieces of fin is shorter then the other 2. also, on his body, under his fin is discolored. the spot looks like a pale blue with dark red around it. my fish is usually just red with blue lines in the grooves of his tail fin and sometimes has a blue 'shimmer' when he is under the light of the tank he is in. I read some of the other questions on your website, and I thought that it could be fin rot, but then the other people with the same problem didn't say anything about having discoloration under the rotting fin. can you please give me some advice? thank you, Nicole <<Hi Nicole, yes, it sounds like fin rot, but the discoloration could be something else. Perhaps a parasite like velvet, or a bacterial infection. I can't really tell without seeing the fish. What size is his tank? Is there a filter? What is the temp? How often to you do partial water changes? You can take a sample of water to your LFS and have it tested for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. Write down the results and let me know. While you are there, buy some Melafix. When you get home, do a water change and add it right away. With some meds and clean water, you should be able to fix him in about a week. -Gwen>>

Fin and Tail Rot or ripped fins on a Betta First of all I would like to say that this is the most informative site that I have found and I have spent many hours reading about various topics. This site is awesome source of information. <Ananda here today. Glad to hear you've found the site useful.> Now on to the problem at hand. I have a 2 gallon hexagon tank with 1 male Betta. The problem is that one day when feeding the Betta I noticed that about a quarter of his tail fin had disappeared except for some thin strands. I had recently put some new plastic plants in the tank and wondered if this could be the problem. <Unlikely, unless there are sharp edges on the plants.> The next day the thin strands were gone and now I can see the same thing happening to the fin on the bottom of his body. How can I tell the difference between torn/ripped fins and fin and tail rot? <Look for white edging on the fins. However, if you've got a fast-moving strain of fin rot, it might not be visible.> If it is fin and tail rot, can Melafix help? <My first suggestion is to increase the frequency of your water changes. Sometimes, improved water quality will stop the progression of the fin rot. If that does not work, I would suggest Kanamycin. Once the fin rot has halted, *then* you might try using Melafix to help the fins regenerate. How useful Melafix might be in *stopping* fin rot is debatable. But once you've got it licked, Melafix does seem to help with fin regeneration.> Thanks in advance for your help. <You're quite welcome. --Ananda>

Lumpy Betta It could just be old age...I've had him over 1 1/2 years and I know they're often 1+ years old when they're in the pet store.  In any case, here's his history.  Lex lives in a 2 gallon tank w/ some rocks on the bottom and a plastic plant (at first I tried live plants but they died and mucked up his water).  I've been changing his water every 1-2 weeks and dechlorinating it.  Shortly after I first got him he developed fin rot but I gave him medicine and put a heater in his tank and now he's been fine ever since. In the last 2 months I've gotten another beta and I've begun adding aquarium salt (1/2 t) to each of their tanks.  I keep them in separate tanks right next to each other.  At night I put a piece of card board between they're tanks and feed them (3 beta pellets each).  During the day I take the card board away (between 3-4 days a week) so they can flare at each other if they want. Lex continues to be active,  eats voraciously and always comes up to say hi when I'm there.  About 3 months ago I noticed a white spot on one of his fins so I put more medicine in his water.  The spot hasn't gone away but it hasn't increased in size, multiplied or affected his behavior any.  Then last night, when I had a lamp on next to him, I noticed that he has a lump on his side past his gills - it must've started to develop within the last 1 1/2 weeks - that's the last time I changed his water. Could it be that the new beta is stressing him out?  Could it be the addition of aquarium salt?  Could it be old age?  What, if anything, can I do? Thank You!!! <<Hello. The fin spot sounds like fish pox, or Lymphocystis. . It is a viral infection that generally goes away on its own. Probable cause is stress. Same with the lump. You could try separating them to see if it helps. In any case, I don't think your white spot is a parasitic problem, three months is too long for it to be Ich or any other parasite. One thing you should do is get both tanks' water tested. If there are filters, test for nitrates, if there are no filters, test for ammonia. High toxin levels can be a serious cause of stress. Better yet, test both tanks for all three: ammonia (should be zero), nitrites (should be zero), and nitrates (keep as low as possible with water changes, like around 20ppm) -Gwen>>

Help! Sick Betta Hi Gwen.  Thanks for your response.  Unfortunately, I lost Gill the next morning.  I woke up the next morning to check on him & he looked ok, but minutes later, he started darting around again & I'm sure he did himself in.  About an hour later, he was gone.  :(  I had him for 6 1/2 months.  He was a very active & friendly Betta & always ate well.  I knew when he wasn't interested in eating the night before, that it was serious.  I test for ammonia often in all their tanks.  (I have 6 Bettas)  Also I have a test kit for nitrates & pH.  All checks ok all the time. After I lost Gill, I was at the pet shop 2 days later & bought a yellow/gold Betta (Sunny)  As luck would have it, he has fin rot, I believe.  I should have known by the condition of a lot of the others that chances are, I'd have one with problems.  Anyway, that was Monday....by Wed., it was very obvious he had a problem.  I started him on Kanacyn & hopefully that will help.  He still hasn't eaten since I got him & that worries me.  He's a small Betta (compared to my others)   He just stares at the food for a few minutes & swims away.  Any suggestions???  Usually when I bring a fish home, he's eating a few hours later.  I never had this happen.  I also noticed him darting around a bit too, but I just assumed it was stress from moving from place to place.  The pet shop had just gotten their delivery of Bettas that same day I bought him.  Any help would be appreciated.  :)  Thanks, Nancy <<Hey, Nancy, sorry to hear about poor Gill. Are your test kits relatively new? Old test kits can give false results. To make sure they are still good, just take a sample to your LFS and compare their results against yours. The thing that bothers me is the new Betta darting around, did you change out the old water from when Gill was in there?...could be a few different things, but that is usually indicative of parasites, and whatever killed Gill could still be in there. What temp is the water? Also, you mention tests for ammonia and nitrates, what about nitrites? Perhaps a test of those might be needed. It's hard to say. The Kanacyn should work well to cure the fin rot, though. Maybe he will be fine with just that. Let me know :) -Gwen>>

Snail ID and Betta question Howdy folks. David here. A couple questions. Number one: over the past several weeks, I have been finding snails in my main display tank. I'm not sure how they got in there in the first place. I'm guessing they came with some plants I bought but I probably had the plants 2 or more weeks before I found my first snail. < You are probably right. These are common pond snails and they are often found with plants.> It is a 55 gallon freshwater tank with tetras, swordtails and Otos. I don't really want the snails in there because I'm growing plants and I'm not sure if they will harm them so as I find the buggers, I've been moving them to my Betta's 2 gallon tank. I have included a picture of one of the snails. There are probably 6 or 7 of them in there by now. In the upper right-hand corner, you can see what I believe to be snail eggs. < You are right . These are snail eggs.> I would simply like to know what kind of snails these are and whether I should be concerned with having them in my main tank and also my Betta's tank. Also, should I remove the eggs? < They really don't do too much damage. They may eat the softer parts of plants like new shoots and leaves but they also eat algae and left over food too. Removing the eggs will help but I am afraid you won't be able to keep up. There are probably little nests like that scattered all over the aquarium already.> At what point will there be too many snails for that 2 gallon tank? < I guess when they really bother you.> And do they provide any benefits for the tank, such as sifting thought the gravel and cleaning it? < If there gets to be a point to where they seem to be taking over the tank then there are a couple of ways to go. You could use chemicals that are poisonous to the snails but if it is slightly overdosed then it will kill the fish too. I would use some biological control like Botias or puffers. They get rid of all of them but will at least keep the population under control.> My second question is in regards to my Betta, Casper. I have had him for almost 2 years. For almost all of that time, he was in a one-gallon, unlighted, unheated tank. I wised up a while back and got him the 2 gallon tank with a light and a heater that keeps the tank around 80 F. It also has a UGF and I'm growing some plants in there: some Aponogeton bulbs and some floating Riccia. I have also included a picture of him and I'm sure you will spot my concern right away. The color on the front half of his body is very faded. He was not always like this. I was hoping the new tank conditions would help out but it doesn't seem to have had an effect thus far. There does not appear to be anything else wrong with him. He is active enough for a Betta. He eats well. He likes looking at himself in the mirror and flaring up every now and then. He is usually always excited to see me. Seems like a normal healthy boy but the dullness of color really concerns me. Is there anything I can do for him? < I think the lack of color may be a factor of age. If that is the case then there is not much you can do. You might try some live food like brine shrimp or daphnia and see if that helps.-Chuck> Thanks so much for your help. David

HELP!! my Betta can't swim I received my Betta from a pet store for Christmas and he was fine to begin with. Although he was raised on brine shrimp and wouldn't eat the flake food I got for him so I switched to brine shrimp. he lives in a small glass bowl about 1/2 gal to 1 gal in size and has small blue flat marbles on the bottom. he would eat regularly and I would have to clean his bowl about every other day cause of the size. HERE'S THE PROBLEM!! for the past week he has been having more and more trouble swimming and staying upright. he flips over easily and when he comes to the surface to eat he rolls upside down and swims away side ways in a panic cause he cant control it.. he's beginning to not want to eat cause its such a task to come up to the top. PLEASE what can I do? is there something seriously wrong with him? I don't want to lose him he is great, by far the best fish I have had. < You Betta has eaten too much and has some food rotting in his gut. It is easy to overfeed our fish especially Bettas. You bring home all this brine shrimp and he only needs a little bit. So well keep putting it in until he is very full. The left over brine shrimp dies and begins to rot. Later he gets hungry and eats the rotting brine shrimp. The food gets stuck in his gut and the bacteria in the gut start to take over and grow. The gut swells with gas and the fish lose their equilibrium. Now you have to treat. Get some Metronidazole and place 125 mg in a 5 gallon bucket. Use this to do a 100% water change. Do not feed. Repeat every other day until the Betta starts to eat. If it looks like it is getting worse than add the entire capsule 250mg to the water. Treat the bucket every other day. The medicine will break down in the bucket after the second day so a new batch needs to be made up every time. This is difficult to treat, all you can do is try.-Chuck> thank you Jessica

Sick Bettas Hi.  I have 6 Bettas & have done a lot of research on them, but Gill (my purple one) is not doing good at all.  About 3 weeks ago, I noticed he had a few black specks on him & assuming it was "Black Spot" I treated him with Super Ich Plus for a week.  He still has one spot on his body yet, but was acting normal otherwise & was eating normal.  For the last few days, I noticed he was hyper (darting around a lot), but saw nothing visible to the eye.  Tonight was tank cleaning time so I looked him over real good.  He is not bloated, no other specks, but he will be laying down on the bottom all calm & then all of a sudden he starts darting around for 3-5 seconds like a maniac.  He also seems to be rubbing on the tank kinda on a slant.  He is pale & not interested in eating now.  He ate fine this morning, but I tried to give him 2 pellets tonight just to see if he would eat & he wouldn't.  That's a danger sign, I know.   I have some medications on hand & treated his tank with CopperSafe tonight to see if it would help.  I figured it was the safest one to use right now without knowing for sure what he has. Here is how I take care of my Bettas....maybe by knowing the routine, you could help me figure out if I am, or am not doing anything wrong. They all have a tank with at least 1.17 gallons, I clean them once a week, I use a de-chlorinator, I use 1 tsp. of aquarium salt per 2 gallons, each tank has a thermometer so I can keep track of temps (especially during water changes) & I have about 4 different types of Betta food that I alternate with.  They eat once a day...unless they seem really hungry...then I might toss in a pellet or 2 at night.  I have test strips that I occasionally use, but everything has always checked out ok.  Does that sound right?  I thought about using Maracyn or Maracyn-Two on Gill, but wasn't sure if I can use it along with the CopperSafe.  Could you help me out & let me know what you think?  Thanks so much in advance for your reply.  You all seem very knowledgeable & I'm glad I found this site!  :)Nancy <<Hello Nancy; I would like to ask a couple of questions. First, how long have you had Gill? Bettas normally live around two years, in some instances up to three, depending on various factors. Also, you mention tanks, are they filtered? When you test your water, what exactly are you testing for? Ideally, in filtered tanks, you would monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. You may also test pH, mostly just to be sure it doesn't fluctuate. If there are no filters on the tanks, I must assume you are testing for ammonia. What are the levels? There is no OK level for ammonia. If Gill's tank is having ammonia problems, that would be easily remedied by doing more frequent water changes. As for the illness, it does sound like a parasite problem. Keep treating with the CopperSafe for a few more days, but it could also be an internal problem.. so, please test his tank for all of the above, and let me know what the results are. --Gwen>>

Sick Betta Hi - Our Betta is sick!  My first big mistake was I mistakenly bought distilled water - he was in it for about 4-5 hours when I noticed he was acting weird - staying at the top a lot and seemed to be trying hard to get air , but more importantly, if he stays still for a second, he starts going sideways like he's ready to die.. I realized it was distilled water and changed it quickly, however, unfortunately it's too late to make a run to the store and all we have is well water (I don't know if it has chlorine or not - but I don't think so). He seems to be doing a little better. swimming around more, but not for long - after about 30 seconds, he quickly floats to the top and again will soon go sideways - he has to work to stay upright... HELP!!!!  My daughter is freaking' :-( < Fish have internal air bladders that allow them to stay buoyant. Your Betta also needs to breath oxygen directly from the air too. I am surprised that your Betta had such a reaction to the distilled water. Your well water may have some gases dissolved in it that may be affecting your fishes internal organs. I would recommend that you get some water conditioner from your local fish store. Get a container to store some well water overnight and treat it with the water conditioner. Any dissolved gases should be gone by the next day. The next day I would change 1/2 the water in the container. This should help and the fish should be all right in a couple of days. Try and be patient.-Chuck>

Betta Goes Streaking My male Betta has dark green streaks at the ends of some of his fins?  Disease? What should I do? If the water is clean, clear, and has no odor then it could be simple genetics. If you have neglected the poor little guy in a bowl with few if any water changes then it could be a case of fin rot. Start with a 50% water change and don't overfeed. Watch the fins closely for a few days and see if they are actually being eaten away. If they are then you need to keep the water clean and treat for fin rot. Nitrofurazone drugs are affective but color the water green.-Chuck>

Burned Betta  Dear Mr. Fenner,  <Crewmember Sabrina with you today, I am deeply sorry for any delay.>  My blue Male Fighter seems to have burnt himself on the heater. Basically, he was in a large tank with lots and lots of other fish, quite happily, but I decided to put him in his own 2 gallon tank complete with filter and heater. I don't believe in a suffering Betta so I wanted to make sure he was okay. He's been in this tank setup for quite awhile now, but this morning he decided to sit on the heater or something.  <I've seen this happen commonly with Plecostomus, especially when they don't have somewhere else in the tank to hide, they like to cling to the heater. If they hang there while it's off, they don't notice as it comes back on, and can get some severe burns as a result. Yeowch.>  His top fin is now burnt at the top, not a lot, but enough to make me worry.  <If it's just his fin, I would imagine he'll recover.>  Will this heal up on it's own or should I add something to his water to help him out?  <For now, I'd treat it as a "wait-and-see"; he might be fine, or it might become infected. If you see signs of bacterial infection, most notably fin rot, I would treat with a good antibiotic (Kanamycin is my drug of choice, I've had great results from it).>  He's by far my favourite Betta, I've had him since November, and he was the first fighter I ever purchased. I want to make sure he's healthy and happy.  <You obviously care about your fish; that's great. It should be no effort to watch him closely for a while, then, to see if he develops any complications while he heals.>  He's currently on the last couple of days of a treatment of salts for a constipation problem which has now cleared up.  <Ahh, delightful. Glad to hear he's doing well from that.>  I'd like to think I know a bit about fish, I'm quite good with them, but this one problem has totally baffled me.  <Since I don't have first-hand opportunity to see him, you are in a better position to see if he needs any treatment. I don't think I'd treat for the burn alone, but if it is really quite bad, you might consider treating prophylactically with a mild antibiotic (Nitrofurazone comes to mind). I prefer not to treat unless necessary.>  Any help would be greatly appreciated,  Thanks so much!  Ellie (and Stealth the Betta)  <Wishing Stealth a swift recovery, -Sabrina>

Betta's in trouble (I think!!) This past weekend we decided to try our hand at having a few fish. We purchased 1 Betta fish and 2 other fish (not sure what they are but where told that they could live with the Betta) I also purchased a 1 gallon tank which came with everything (gravel, air pump, light, and a couple of plants). At the pet shop my wife saw a Betta in a vase with some gravel on the bottom and some fake plant. She though this looked nice so we decided to buy a vase, a bag of gravel, and couple more plants and would use this  for the Betta and use the tank for the other two fish. We set everything up and the fish all looked quite happy. The next day (yesterday) we went out for a few hours and when we came back, the beta fish had jumped out of the water and was laying on the table. I thought it was dead (it looked quite dried up) but when I went to pick it up, it moved!!! I put it back in the water and it moved around a bit and then just laid at the bottom of tank (vase). I thought that perhaps it would help out if I put the Betta in the other tank I bought as it had a light to warm the water and the air pump. It seems to be getting a bit better (is swimming around a bit) but I have not seen it eat anything through I have tried putting food in, but the food just sinks to the bottom into the gravel without the Betta even attempting to get any (it may be picking up from the bottom...I don't know). This morning I looked at the fish and it looked like its shedding some skin. It's fins are also not looking good (the top one looks like its stuck together, tail and bottom fin look OK but not good). I was a little worried about putting the ill Betta with the other 2 fish, but they seem to be leaving it alone.  Anything I can do or buy that will help this thing out!! (I will NEVER put a fish in a coverless tanks again!!)  < Your Betta has lost some of its protective slime. This is why you never handle fish with dry nets or dry hands. Change some of the water with new water that has been treated with a water conditioner that adds a protective coat to the fish. Add a tablespoon of rock salt to 5 gallons of water and use that to do your water changes for the next few days. If it looks like the fish is developing fungus then treat for fungus as per you local stores recommendations. Bettas usually are pretty tough. Don't worry about the food until it is up and around.-Chuck>  Thank you, Brad Stubbe

Betta Blues - 04/07/2004 Hi this is Jennifer. <H'lo.  This is Sabrina.  Nice to (sort of) meet you.> Recently I have noticed that my Betta fish has not been eating, but instead there are little holes in his fins. <Mm, sorry to hear that.> He won't eat any of the food that I try to give him. I have tried the Betta splendid floating pellets, dried blood worms, and the aquatic flakes but he doesn't seem to try any. <I've never had a Betta turn down bloodworms, yikes!> He looks frustrated and in shock or something. I had Bettas before but this one doesn't seem too happy. <Please test your water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH, it is likely that one or more of these are out of whack and causing him to not feel good.  Ammonia and nitrite should be zero; anything above that should be considered toxic.  Nitrate should ideally be 20ppm or less.  If any of these are off, do water changes to correct them.  If you don't have test kits for the above, you can take a sample of your Betta's water to a local fish store for them to test it for you.  Have them write down the values, don't settle for a general "Your water's fine", as many stores will say.> For the water, I use spring water and the aqua safe. Is this a bad combo for him? <Well, to be honest, it's not the greatest (but not terrible, either).  Depending upon how good/bad/indifferent your tapwater is (especially in regards to pH), you may be better off using your tapwater and a good water conditioner to remove chlorine and Chloramine.  Always remember to match the temperature of the new water to that of his tank.> Please give me some advice if this water is making him act funny or getting sick. <Do please test your water for those values, and do a big water change - then keep track of his tank's ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate regularly.  If you find that his water is okay, please get back to us, and we'll explore some other causes/repairs.> Thanks a bunch! <You bet!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Bloaty Betta - 04/07/2004 I have looked through your archives and found an article regarding the treatment of a constipated Beta.  My Beta, Thor, was quite happy and healthy for the first 1 1/2 months (he lives at work, so fasts on the weekends).   <What, and how much, do you feed him?> This past Monday, he did not greet me as he normally does and was quite listless.  Thinking that he had a bacterial infection (based on the lack of eating, listlessness, and small red spot - which I now think is just his coloring), I began treatment with Maracyn Two.  After observing him more, and reading your article, I now realize that he is most likely constipated.  (Today he has a trail of fishie-poo) <Poo's a good sign!> He is more active than he had been, but not interested in food.   <If he's still bloaty/constipated, that may be a good thing.  Offer him foods high in roughage content for a while.> Now, for the actual question:  In the post that I read, Epsom Salt is recommended as treatment.   <Yesindeedy.> I have aquarium salt.  What is the difference, <Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, as opposed to sodium chloride.> where can I get Epsom Salt if that is preferable, <At the grocery store, near milk of magnesia and that sort o' stuff, in the medicine aisle.  Or ask a drugstore.  It's really quite common stuff, don't fret.> how soon must it go in the water, <Soon as it can, if the fella's still constipated.> and should I change to water (due to the Maracyn treatment) prior to salting? <Not necessary - but if you are certain there is no bacterial illness involved, you can cease the medication.  If you're still in doubt, I would complete the treatment - halting it would make any bacterial nasties quite resistant to the meds (Minocycline, in Maracyn-II).> Please help me help Thor.  :-) <I do hope your Thor comes around soon.> Thank you,  Shelley Massingill (Thor's Human) <Wishing you and Thor well,  -Sabrina>
Bloaty Betta - II - 04/09/2004 
Sabrina (et. al.),  Thank you so much for your reply!  <Any time! This is why we're here.>  You all are great!!  <Thanks, you too!>  To answer your question, I feed Thor Betta Bites - about 6 or so pieces....he gobbles them up very fast! I added the Epsom salt yesterday, as it seemed like a fairly urgent matter. (He must have been quite uncomfortable!)  <I know I get uncomfortable when constipated; it stands to reason that he should, too.>  This morning he is doing much better!  <Delightful!>  I offered him brine shrimp, but he wasn't interested, so I tried a Betta bite. (I didn't actually try it...I gave it to him.) He gobbled it up when he thought I wasn't looking! :-)  <Heh! I would definitely cut back on feeding, he can go with about half of what you've been feeding him. I feed my Betta girl about every other day, at about half of what you've been giving Thor in one feeding - and she's STILL a fattie. I think she's sneaking snails behind my back. Anyhow, my point is, he can do just fine on less food, and it should help him be less prone to getting constipated. Or, perhaps alternate feeding him the Betta bites with something higher in roughage content, like daphnia (since he doesn't take the brine shrimp).>  Thank you so much! It looks like he's well on his way to a full recovery!  <SO glad to hear that!>  Last question. How soon should I change the water after having added the salt?  <In two or three days from the first dose, you can do a 50% water change and dose again, should you deem it necessary. A few days after that, and I'd do a few big water changes. The Epsom really can't do anything to hurt him, as I understand it.>  Thanks again, Shelley  <Thanks for writing in, Shelley. Wishing you and Thor well, -Sabrina>

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish My sister has had her Betta fish since November 2003 and recently it has been changing from dark blue to a red and purple colour with a slight green tinge, I haven't seen it but she says that it also kind of looks like its fading in some places, she is worried sick and wants to know if its normal or if he should take it a vet  <Bettas often times change colors as they mature. I once had a Betta with a full white face and blue body within a years time it had become a solid blue with purple fins. If the fish should start to show signs of fading it might be something she should worry about. perhaps he is sick. Tell her to keep an eye on the fish, make sure it has fresh water, and try not to over feed it. If she should notice the start of "fuzzy" material on the fishes skin then begin to worry, this is a fungus that often times effects Bettas. It's easily treatable with medicines such as Maracyn. If she wishes to take the Betta to the vet and have it inspected it is quite alright, not many people I know do take the initiative to take a fish to the vet.>  <good luck. -Magnus>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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