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FAQs on Betta Diseases 4

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Related FAQs: Betta Disease 1, Betta Disease 2, Betta Disease 3, Betta Disease 5, Betta Disease 6, Betta Disease 7, Betta Disease 8, Betta Disease 9, Betta Disease 10, Betta Disease 11, Betta Disease 12, Betta Disease 13, Betta Disease 14, Betta Disease 15, Betta Disease 16, Betta Disease 17, Betta Disease 18, Betta Disease 19,  Betta Disease 20, Betta Disease 21 Betta Health 22, Betta Health 23, Betta Health 24, Betta Health 25, Betta Health 26, Betta Health 28, Betta Health 29, Betta Health 30, Betta Health 31,
Betta Disease Causes/Etiologies: Determining/Diagnosing, Environmental (By far the largest cat.), Nutritional, Viral/Cancer, Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal) , Parasitic: Ich/White Spot, Velvet; Senescence/Old Age, Cures/Curatives/Treatments,

FAQs on Betta Medicines
: Betta Medicines period, Antibiotics/Antibacterials, Anti-Protozoals (Metronidazole, eSHa...), Copper, Formalin, Malachite Green, Anthelminthics, Organophosphates, Salts, All Other Betta Med.s,

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Lethargic Betta I would like to know if there is anything wrong with my fish? <Okay> He is hanging out at the top with very little movement, he will move if I aggravate him. <Such behavior is typical of Bettas. To increase his activity level you might consider raising the bowl temperature to around 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.> He was a gift for my 40th birthday. I have had him for about 5 months. I change his water every week and add a chlorine remover, He is in an average size Fish Bowl. <Sounds like you're keeping your Betta in the generally accepted Betta keeping method> Today I noticed the difference he had his bubble nest going, but he looks like he is swimming downward when he moves and seems to not be able to hang out in his mid level area. It seems when he stops swimming he goes straight to the top, and then tonight I noticed he spit his food out. He grabs and spits! So why is my little finned friend acting so obtuse? <With such little information, I cannot diagnose what ails your Betta. However, you can. Check and read through the following WWM FAQ if you think your Betta is ill: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/disFAQsMar.htm  Generally, a bubblenest is an indicator of good health. > Thanks, Kim <Good luck, Mike G>

Is my Betta sick or not sick? Hi, my husband and I have been pulling our hair out over our little Betta, Zen. He has something and we cannot figure it out to save ours or his life. It started about 6-7 weeks ago when the edges of his caudal fin began to fade. Nothing other than the fading. It began to consume more of the caudal fin and the edges of the dorsal and anal fin begin to fade, as well. His behavior remained normal. Very active and alert with a very healthy appetite. We went over a week on his scheduled water change which we have never done and the surface of the water was a little scummy. He is in a ten gallon tank with 2 O'Cats and a Tetra Whisper filter 10i. There is a 6-8 inch ceramic air stone. The temperatures outside started dropping around late November and we could not maintain a consistent temp anymore so we added a heater, it's a 110 watt Guardian. <Good... much of the observed trouble could be directly related to cool and fluctuating temperature> There were some temp fluctuations while trying to adjust the heater. For about a week and a half the temps fluctuated around 5 degrees between morning and night. We were worried sick but kept trying until we got it set. The temp has been stable at 77.5 - 78.5 degrees for over a month now. So, we went over a week on the water change and noticed the scum starting to develop on top and had fluctuating temps. We did a water change immediately. It was right in this time period of a few days that we noticed the fading. We thought it might be fin and tail rot so we started him on some Kanamycin. That was from Dec 28-Jan 01.We removed the carbon from the filter and gave a 5 day treatment. No change. In fact, it was fading just a bit more. I called someone with much, much more knowledge than I and she said I should do one more treatment but a 25% water change should be done every other day. So we did another 5 day treatment with no filter and water changes from Jan 03 - Jan 07. Again, no change. Now his fins were not just faded but there were some small pieces missing from his caudal fin and his dorsal and anal fins had started to look "matted" on a small part of the edge. In frustration, we went to the local fish specialty store and talked to them. They suggested it might be his water. We were using distilled and tap at an 80% / 20% ratio. They said that with distilled water the fins can sometimes fade. So we did a 50% water change on Jan 09 and added Ozarka natural spring water. All the way up to this point our water quality was very good. <Is your tap/source water "that" bad? I would mix about half of this with one or the other of these bought waters> Tested by ourselves and the fish store employees. So we changed the water and left everything alone for about a week. After that week his fins were still faded and matted looking on some edges. By this point the small portions of fin he had lost were back. However, with the fading and the matted look we thought we should try one more Kanamycin treatment. We did this treatment from Jan 14 - Jan 18 with no carbon and we did not do 25% changes every other day. Jan 18 we were out for the evening and came in about 1am. Zen was not looking well at all. I dropped a couple of pellets in the water to see if he would eat and he looked right at them and swam right on by. Not like him at all. My husband and I watched him for a very short time and we saw him go to the bottom of the tank and fold himself in half and try to burrow into the sand with his head. I freaked out. I knew he was in serious trouble and I was sure he would die. My husband and I flew into action and did a 50% water change as fast as we could. I suspected the ammonia had reached toxic levels so we tested the old tank water and sure enough it tested at .015 ppm. <Yes... and I hope you understand the "why" here... the antibiotic killed off your nitrifying bacteria... and will do very little good for your Betta period> The pH was 7.0 and the temp was 77 degrees. As soon as fresh water went in the tank he began to look and act better. Within an hour he was eating and active and excited to see us looking in at him as usual. We left things alone for awhile and watched him but with no improvement in the coloring or the matted look we decided to try something new. On Jan 22-Jan 26 we treated him with Maracyn and Maracide. Unfortunately, we did not remove the carbon b/c we thought if it was 6 days or older it could stay in and with the ammonia scare we wanted to leave it, if at all possible. The only problem was we did not realize until after the treatment that the carbon was only 3 days old at the start of treatment. On Jan 26 the Toxic Ammonia was .006ppm / pH was 7.0 / Nitrite was 0.1 and temp was 77.7 degrees. On Jan 28 we did a 50% water change and added salt and Stress Coat. We, also, removed all decorations except two artificial plants and a very small "ancient ruins" figurine. Then on Jan 29 we removed the carbon and started treating with Maracyn 2 and one dose of Copper Safe. Tonight we will be giving him his fourth day treatment with the Maracyn 2 and we still have not seen any improvement. With the exception of the ammonia poisoning he has shown no other symptoms than what I have already stated. He has remained active and alert. He has been eating very well and we have not seen any sores, cottony white stuff, white spots, diseased looking gills or lifted scales. Nothing we can find in any of the disease books or online seem to apply to him. The Toxic Ammonia tonight (Feb01) was .0015ppm / pH = 7.0 / Temp = 78.4 degrees. I hope I have given you enough info. Do you have any suggestions for how to treat him or what might be wrong?. <I do... first, I fully suspect there was, is nothing "wrong" disease-wise with your fish... the chilling incident will account for your well-described behavior, fading changes... along with the mineral-deficient tank water... The medications, though well-intended, have been responsible for much anguish for you, and toxic to your fishes... Please do NOT add any more. I would raise the temperature of your water here to the low 80's F... and actually keep it there... much better for your Betta and catfish... and going forward, I would store and use a gallon or two of tapwater to use in your weekly water changes. Have you read over our archives on Betta splendens?  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm and the linked files (in blue, above).> I sincerely appreciate your time spent on this. Thank you and I hope you have a wonderful day.  Best Regards, Patricia and Daniel <Thank you for your intelligent, complete input here... and your obvious caring behavior toward/with the creatures in your care. Perhaps adding a bit (sprig) of live "grass" would aid you also in assuring good water quality... Bob Fenner>

Question about Betta behavior and velvet Hi, I just bought my Betta about two weeks ago. He is very colorful and active. Lately, however, I've spotted several small areas on him that look a little discolored. There wouldn't be a whole spot, just like two scales. I did shine a flashlight on him and thought that perhaps he had velvet, so I treated him with Maracyn-Two (given to me by the pet store). <Mmm, Minocycline? Antibiotics are useful here only for secondary effects http://groups.msn.com/TheBettaObsession/bettaillnessandtreatment.msnw > I followed the instructions as well as given him a salt bath. The spots disappeared, but he sometimes starts swimming up and down in the corner of the tank and kind of jerks about and I don't see him scratching against the decorations. I change the water very often, so I don't think it's the water or poisoning. He doesn't stay on the bottom neither nor is there a lack of appetite and he acts pretty normal. Sometimes he does open his mouth wide, but that is rare. Is this behavior normal? or is he sick? Thanks for the help! LST <Hard to say... is the fish's tank/container heated? Lethargy is pretty much a normal state with Bettas... more so at lower temperatures. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about Betta behavior and velvet
The tank's temp is usually between 70-80, pretty warm. <This is too much of a range, change... should be toward the 80 degree F. point and not changing> He acts pretty normal, but I have noticed that there may be some gold dusting on his belly, but I've already treated him, so why would it still be there? <Might be "just coloring"> Could the parasites still be there? I've washed the tank several times with very hot water. Now I'm almost sure it's velvet except the one symptom he doesn't have is the lethargy and the gasping for air. Still been giving him salt baths though. Any suggestions? Thank you! LST <I assure you that this fish does NOT have Velvet... this Dinoflagellate disease/parasite is very distinctive in its effects on its hapless hosts... and you've mentioned that you don't observe this... I would not worry, or treat the fish further than the salt use. Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about Betta behavior and velvet
Thank you so much for your help! I just have one last question, there are no visible signs of sickness and I change the water quite often, so then why has he been swimming up and down in the corner of the tank (he kind of thrashes). Coloring is fine, fins aren't clamped. It's as if he's having spasms.                       LST <Most likely your Betta is simply "challenging" the "Betta in the window"... it's own reflection. Bob Fenner>

Swollen Betta Head... Long time no chat WWM (Jorie)!! Bad news guys, my Betta - Wiggles is sick...~_~ The story goes like this: I was away for 3 days and had to place my Betta in a new environment (downstairs in my living room) and the temperature is always kept warm, however it's a little bit darker lighting. So...when I returned, my Betta seemed a little depressed and his fins (all of them) were kinda rolled/squished together and I found that a little bit odd. (he's a veil tail) But after 2 days, I noticed his gills are a little red, but he's eating fine and still alert. Today his face/cheeks?? are actually swollen and red.. from the top of his head - looking down, I seem to notice his scales looking a little bumpy? Sorry guys, I'm not sure how else to describe it. I've placed him in a hospital tank, changed his water and gave him aquarium salt with BettaMax. What else should I do? *frowns* Joanne N Wong <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm  and the Linked files (above, in blue) on Betta Disease, Systems... anything "jump out" at you? Bob Fenner>

Betta - Big-time Swollen Please email as soon as possible. I'm very attached to my blue Betta, Zelbert, and I'm afraid he's going to die soon. <Okay> For about two weeks Zelbert has hardly been eating at all. I noticed that  he started swelling a bit under his side fins just after the New Year. He's also not been eating his food for about a week. I left for a business trip Monday, and yesterday when I got home (Wednesday) I noticed he'd probably swollen at least 1/2 his size while I was gone. <Yikes, not good> He's so swollen now that he has  the pinecone look (Dropsy, right?). <Yes... an appearance formed by the net flow of fluid to intercellular space... often bacterial in origin> He's so swollen, in fact, that he has a hard time swimming around. Very awkward. <...> Last night I put in the Epsom salt as directed on your site. I don't know  if it's constipation or something more serious. (FYI, I use tap water and try to get it the same temperature every time I change his water, about once every 2-3  weeks. I use De-chlorination stuff when I change the water. <A good protocol, but I would encourage you to store the bulk of the water before the change... Tapwater is NOT a consistent product... and municipalities often will "pulse" sanitizer (Chloramine almost always used), which is not detected, not counteracted by folks... will/does dissipate in water setting for about a week> I feed him (was  feeding him; he's fasting now) about 7 of the Hikari Bio Gold pellets once a day.  I realize now that this may have been too many at one time) Several questions: <I would enlarge your Betta's diet to include some fresh and/or frozen/defrosted meaty foods... bloodworms, brine shrimp...> 1. If the Epsom salt is going to help, how long should that take? When should I know if it's not working, basically? <You should see some diminishing of the swelling within a week, two...> 2. I've learned from your site that perhaps Zelbert's water is a bit too cool. How can I heat him up slowly enough to not make him stress out? <Raising semi-quickly isn't a problem... with an aquarium heater> I have him in a medium-sized vase with a Peace Lily plant on top with rocks in the bottom.  He loves his plant roots. <Ah, yes> 3. If the Epsom salt doesn't work, what would be my next step? Please give me as many specifics as possible. This is my very first fish..... and my first pet altogether, actually. Thank you most kindly, Jerra <There are antimicrobials that might be of use... is the water aerated/circulated? If so, Maracyn/Erythromycin might help here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta - Big-time Swollen
No, the water is not aerated/circulated. Just in a vase with plant on top with room from the water and the plastic cup my plant is in for Zelbert to get air, about an 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches. Could the dropsy happen if he's constipated? If not, and it is bacterial, what can I give him since I don't have an aquarium set-up? Also, how often should I change his water to add more/new Epsom salt? Or will the one-time "treatment" with the Epsom salt work? Do you think he could have swim bladder disease? If so, is there something  I could buy to give him for that? And if there is something I can buy, will it hurt him if he DOESN'T actually have swim bladder? < Your poor Betta has an internal bacterial infection. The key to successfully treating this disease is to treat it easily with Metronidazole. It may be difficult to find at your local store but it is available online at Drsfostersmith.com. Each tablet treats 10 gallons of water. Keep the water clean and warm 80 degrees while medicating and follow the directions on the package.-Chuck> Thanks a mil! Jerra
Betta - Big-time Swollen
Chuck, Thanks for your help. Poor Zelbert finally gave up on Saturday night. It was very sad. I cried and cried. But after he passed he actually went back to normal size, and I am glad to know that he is finally no more swollen. I plan to get another Betta next weekend, and I plan to get everything I could possibly need to keep this one healthy. Do you have any suggestions? Is there anything I could possibly have done to cause Zelbert's bacterial infection, or was there anything I could have done to prevent it? < Warm,(80 degrees), clean water is the key for Bettas. I would keep one in a small aquarium with a small heater or light. A half inch or so of fine sand and a live plant or two. I would feed only enough food so that all of it is gone in a couple of minutes. Once a week I would siphon out half the water and replace it with bottled or treated tap water. I might place a small snail in the tank if I thought it was needed to help control algae.-Chuck> Warm regards, Jerra

Betta in Recovery Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 Hello, <Hi there> I dip fish at a retail store.  <I'll bet you do much more than this> Last week I sold a Betta that was, by all appearances, healthy. Three days ago the customer brought the Betta back to me screaming that I sold her a sick fish. The Betta was still alive but looking very very ill. Later I found out the customer told my co-worker she had been using distilled water in his tank.  <Arggghh, too clean... bereft of needed mineral content> I brought the poor sick boy home to take proper care of him. He is eating, though not much. For the most part he is just lying on the gravel, periodically coming up for air. Right now I'm trying to keep him comfortable. He's warm and not near other fish. His fins seem to be growing back. I put a bit of Melafix in his tank along with a touch of aquarium salt. My question is...Is there anything else I can do to help him recover?  Thank You, KAYE <Not much Kaye... Keep the fish fed, warm as you're doing and there is very good chance of full recovery. Bob Fenner>

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

Sick Betta? Dear Crew, <Joshua> For about a week now, I have had a male Betta (Squint) in a 2.5gal filtered tank. Water is around 78 and Betta has been doing fine until after feeding time today. A few hours after feeding him, I noticed a white patch or spot (looked like a small piece of paper) in my Betta's mouth. He won't eat and just looks at or stays at the surface. His belly also looks a little whitish, but not much. Can you help?  Josh <Maybe... most likely this system has just not "cycled"... become established with a compliment of beneficial bacteria... Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm  and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betsysfaqs.htm  and the linked files (in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

Betta constipated for about a week Hi! I have a Betta since last September in a 2 gal. tank with dechlorinated water at a 80 degree temperature. I used to feed him once a day with about 3-4 pellets (he's big for a Betta). About a week ago I noticed he started to get swollen, I fasted him for a couple of days but the swelling didn't go down, someone told me to try and feed him blood worms, <Good> he ate one but the situation got worse. Now he doesn't eat and stays at the bottom of his tank, he has lost some of his color and I think he's dying :( Is there any other way I can help him??? <Yes... do add about a half teaspoon... Oh, I see this below> I read today I can try Epsom salt, but I don't know if it's too late for that. HELP?? <Not too late. Do add the 1/2 tsp. of Epsom... mixed up in a bit of water. Bob Fenner>

Another constipated Betta Hi, I've had my Betta for just under 1 year now and I recently went home for Christmas break from college. He did fine at home over break but after the 2 and 1/2 hr car ride back to school he wasn't himself. It's been a week now and he hasn't eaten a thing or pooped at all. He does swim around if I'm by his bowl but otherwise just lounges on the bottom or top of his bowl. I do only feed him pellets, bad I know, and know I have overfed him lately. His color, fins, and scales look normal. Is he constipated or just stressed out and what can I do? <Do try some other meatier foods... frozen/defrosted brine shrimp, bloodworms... and add a teaspoon per five gallons of Epsom Salt to your Betta tank, raise the temperature to the low 80's F... Bob Fenner>

Betta has a lump like a little balloon at the end of his back fin I wonder if you can give me any advice. I've kept my Betta in a separate bowl till winter came, and now he is in a heated 10 gallon aquarium with 4 other fish, a female Betta included. Today a lump appeared at the end of his back fin. It looks full with air like a balloon. The diameter of the lump could be approximately 3-4 mm. He stays on the bottom, he feeds well (on flakes mostly), but I think I should put a tank divider to give him more peace and quiet.  What is that balloon at the end of his fin? I would appreciate an expert's opinion. Thanks, Lena PS: I searched among other messages you got, but I couldn't find anything similar.  <The bump is likely nothing to be concerned about... the result/reaction from a mechanical injury... will heal itself in time... Do look into augmenting this and your other fishes' diets with other foods... perhaps frozen/defrosted meaty varieties. Bob Fenner>
Missing - Betta Balloon Got Better
Thank you so much! The balloon disappeared yesterday two hours after I wrote to you. Lucky fin. I will look into increasing the food variety.  Lena <Real good. Bob Fenner>

Sick Betta (chilled) Hi Crew, <Julia> I found your site today and I'm really impressed! Hope you'll help me with my problem. <Will try> I currently have two Bettas living in 2 separate tanks. Couple of months ago one of my Bettas got some symptoms that reminded fish tuberculosis. So that sick Betta died in the beginning of December. I bleached the tank and got another Betta late December. Recently my new Betta started getting the same symptoms as the one that died. He almost doesn't swim, sits always in the corner of the tank, at the bottom or at the top with his fins clamped. He stopped eating. He doesn't pay any attention to the food. At times he'd go to the bottom and swim there for a bit, looking for food there or a place to hide. His belly looks a bit big as if he's constipated. One more thing, there is a thin membrane on top of his water, it usually appears on the third day after I change his water. <Likely a film, scum from food... perhaps from aerosol... like cooking oil, in the house... Bettas are aerial respirators (notice them coming to the surface periodically?), but I would keep this film "wicked" away... with a clean paper towel...> There are no other symptoms that I noticed, but they awfully remind me of my other Betta that died. I asked for some advice in the pet store and the girl told me that he is just mad because his water is too clean so he tries to make it dirty. Do you think she is right? <Mmm, no> If she is why then my other fish doesn't do that. What do you think it might be? Is it fish tuberculosis? <Doubtful this is Mycobacterial... but very likely environmental... you don't mention, oh I see this below... you have no heater... and this is a tropical fish. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm  and the Related FAQs (see above)> And what would you advise to use in order to help him, I don't want to lose him. He lives in 2 litres Betta bowl, there is no heating and I change his water once a week or once in two weeks. The other fish feels fine.  Thanks in advance, Julia <Translate your caring into action and all will be fine. Bob Fenner> 
Re: sick Betta
Hi Bob, <Julia> Thank you for your advice. I raised the temperature and now he started opening his fins and swimming from time to time, but still spends most of his time just sitting in the corner. <"These things take time"> One more question: I mentioned that he stopped eating, but today when I tried to give him a flake he paid attention to it, came close to it, and tried to eat it, but it looked like his mouth was too small for it. <Bettas by and large don't eat flake foods... and if do, these will not sustain them.> (I chose a really tiny one, because I noticed that is a problem when he eats, looks like he just can't open his mouth wide enough). Finally he swallowed it but was chewing it for so long and then he started opening his mouth, it looked like he was yawning. What can it be and what should I do in order to help him get the food to his mouth?  I even got smaller bites for him, but still too big apparently. Thank you, Julia <Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betfdgfaqs.htm  Bob Fenner>

Older Betta HEY CREW, I hope this is the right forum to ask about my Betta fish. It is about 3 years old. I've never heard of anyone having a Betta for that long. <This is a good long while... some have lived to four, five, but this is rare> Recently he has been floating on his side at the top of his bowl.  Worried, I touch him and his reaction is full of life. For the past two years he has lived behind the bar that I manage. He's always been a trooper and a survivor. He's on his fourth bowl, due to my employees accidentally breaking the others during busy times. His latest bowl (purchased 2 weeks ago) is made of plastic and holds about a gallon of water. <Oh! May be just the "newness" of the new enclosure...> When I bought this new home for him, he started floating at the top sideways. In addition, his eating habits are not as aggressive as they use to be. I know he's old for a Betta, but is there anything I can do to prolong his life? Just hoping, JOE W. <Joe, there may well be... do add a "sprig" of live plant (like Anacharis or Myriophyllum... your fish store will know these) to the bowl... this should help in instantly conditioning the water to where it is much more suitable to your Betta. Bob Fenner> 

BETTA CARE JORIE, <Jorie seems to be off line> Thank you for responding to my concerns. I have a 1.5 gallon tank without a filtration system. I use distilled water for the tank.  <Not a good idea.> I have never, in the past, used a water treatment. I usually change the water about every 3 weeks. It has been 2 weeks since the last change. I hope this helps. Alisa T. Johnson <Alisa, have you read through our postings re Betta's, systems and health? Please do:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm  See the links (in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

Older Betta My Betta fish is 3 years old (or it has been 3 years since we got him), and lately he has become bloated, changed to an ashy gray color, and hangs around near the bottom of the tank.  Hanging around the bottom is fairly common for him, but now he only seems to struggle up for air.  In addition, I have noticed bits of his tail floating in the water.  I don't know anything about fish  - I just need some guidance to help Rufus.  He lives in a bowl with a stalk of bamboo, a few rocks and distilled water.  Thanks in advance! Sidney L. Echevarria <Mmm, two things... three years is a good long life for a Betta splendens... and no need to use distilled water... lacks mineral your fish needs. You might try some live, or frozen/defrosted meaty foods (brine shrimp, glassworms, Daphnia...) but no medication is called for here. Bob Fenner>

Betta fish diseases, WWM Hi, I have a problem with one of my male Bettas. He is scraping is mouth on plants, rocks, and the glass. I noticed this and then I saw this huge, white bump on the bottom lip, and it looks like a giant zit. I don't know what it is or how I should treat it. Other than that, he is doing fine. He eats healthy, he swims fine, perfectly healthy. He just seems irritated by the "zit". Erin <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm and the blue files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Sick Betta, Goldfish Thanks for getting back to me sooo fast My pH is Either 7.4 or 7.6 my regular Ph test says 7.6 and my high Ph says 7.4 this is high which probably isn't that good but Ph changes quite a lot and it says that a Ph of 7.5 is ideal for goldfish which I have one mysterious one  who poops all day as mentioned before. <These ranges, readings are fine> Ammonia and Nitrite are both 0 ppm my KH is about 35.8 ppm (supposed to be 0-50 for Neons and cardinals which  I have and 50-100 for tetras which I have also) I gave him the inside of a thawed pea yesterday and have cut back food a little on all fish. He ate the peas right away which made me laugh because that was the most active he had been in a while but he is still hanging out in the bottom corner looking sad. I do know that goldfish grow very fast and poop a lot (24-7 practically) which is kind of irritating seeing as I took this fish after my neighbors turtle wouldn't eat it. <Good for you> My Pleco is not a regular one and should get at the most about 4 to 6 inches... my last one died after three and a half years at about 6 1/2 inches I called him pucker lol but this one is a rubber Pleco and I've had him for about a year and he's only grown about half an inch so he's up to three inches  now. <A much slower growing species> About adding the Epsom salt... should I just put it into the tank and let  it evaporate or should I put it by my filter and have it go into the water that way? <Better the latter, or to pre-dissolve and pour in> Also I cannot move my Betta to another tank because A we can't buy another and B we can't buy another heater which he would need because going from a maintained 76-80 degrees to a 72 room temperature might be more harmful than good. <Yes> I'd much rather just give the goldfish to someone or put the goldfish in a regular tank with no heater. <Agreed> As I am typing this Jaz is trying to move around the tank which is quite funny because he almost sinks to the bottom but the other fish are leaving him alone and are actually kinda scared of him which is an advantage. Other than that I think that's all I have to say Thank you soooo much for your wonderful help and promptness it really  helped me and will hopefully help Jaz get better <Me too. Bob Fenner>

Bring in a fighter! Dune reference Hi, I'm having trouble with my male fighter. He was fine until yesterday when we noticed that he's either been bitten rather badly by something or he's knocked himself, his side is really quite mangled and he's lacking colour yet seems to still be with us.  I've isolated him away from the other fish, I only have the one tank so it's a tricky process. when I kept Gouramis one of them got bitten and it healed really well but I'm stumped as to what to do for Monty!  How do I make things better for him?  Is it likely that this will heal? He's a seriously beautiful fish. Thanks.  Chrissy <Betta's are remarkably resilient, and yours may well heal... I would keep it removed from where other fish may work it further woe, like a floating pasta colander, livebearer trap... and add some nominal amount of salt to the water... a level teaspoon per five gallons... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm and the Related Betta Disease FAQs (linked, in blue, at top) re dosage... Bob Fenner>

Betta Could Be Feelin Betta 01/11/2005 Hi!  I just got a Betta for Christmas that came in a vase with a peace lily plant.  I read on the internet that this is not necessarily a good arrangement and put the Betta in 1 gallon bowl instead.   <Though the peace lily arrangement can be done successfully, it takes a little more care than is usually discussed, and, hes probably much better off in the larger space.> Because he came with instructions to change the water only every 6 weeks or so, he was swimming in water that had several dead roots, a few fertilizer pellets, and a few pieces of dirt before I read online that I actually need to change the water every week.   <Sounds delicious.  Im glad youre stepping up your water change schedule!> I recently noticed he has a little fin rot and put him in a 1 gallon bowl with some aquarium salt and fungus eliminator.   <For just fin rot, I wouldnt necessarily start medicating right away often, improved water conditions alone will bring about a cure.> Around that time, I noticed that the skin/scales under on chin was turning slightly grey.  Its been 5 days, and now he is grey around the mouth, a little around the eyes, and has a few spots of grey on the top of his head.  The grey doesnt look fuzzy or like grains of salt; it just looks like his gills are turning grey.  I would have that if it was a fungus, the first fungus treatment would have healed it or at least kept it from spreading.  Do you have any idea what might be causing the grey or what to do about it?   <It is possible that this is natural coloration but it could be a number of things.  It could be reaction to too strong a dose of medicine, or could be a parasitic protozoan infection.  Does this area look slimy or filmy?  Is it very plainly the scales that are colored, or does it look as though there is a haze on top of the scales?> Thanks so much for your help! <I certainly hope to be of more assistance than this.  Please do respond, and well be glad to help you through this.  If at all possible, please let us know your readings for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate (if you dont have test kits, you can bring a sample of water to the fish store have them show you the results, and jot the figures down on a piece of paper to let us know).  Also, what is the primary coloration of the Betta?  Many steel blue Bettas will have a lot of grayish cast to them.  Also, I urge you to go to any local fish store to look at the Bettas for sale notice especially how the heads of the Bettas almost invariably are of a different, darker color than the rest of the Betta what you are seeing on your fish may very well be just normal coloration.  Please get back to us.  Wishing you and your Betta well,  -Sabrina>

Vase Betta fish I have a red Betta fish in a vase.  I want to change him into a fish  tank primarily to keep him warm because my apartment is very cold and so is  his water, not to say to give him space, my question is if a 10 gallon  fish tank would be to big for him? <Yay! And yes>   The reason is that the heaters are for  fish tanks and not vases.  I want the best for him.  I can't sleep well thinking he is in that cold water. <You are so right... Just today, I considered adding to my "to do soon" writing list a particular piece on "Betta Systems"... and added in all Capitals a statement re chilling being the principal cause of loss of Bettas> <<RMF reviewed this 9/09... Did write this pc>> Also my fish built a bubble nest  and every time we look close at him his gills come out like ready to attack, he  is really guarding it with his life.  Can he get sick if he doesn't  mate??  Please help me.  I want the best for him.   Tanya <Is indeed "displaying", but will not be sick from not mating. Bob Fenner>

Please help my poor Betta buddy! Hi, I've been perusing the other questions posed but am a bit overwhelmed and still feel like I need some guidance. My husband's Betta, Oscar, has a few issues. His water wasn't getting changed nearly often enough, I now know, the temperature hasn't been constant, and he's getting old (around 3?), so I guess he's more susceptible now to disease. <Yes, this is a good long lifetime for this species> For a few weeks he's been listing to the side and not able to eat as well (he goes for the Betta bites but often spits it out or misses completely). Now both his eyes are bulging out, and he seems to be having trouble with his swim bladder. He has been spending some time on his head at the bottom of the tank (2 gal, no heater). His eyes aren't at all cloudy, just very enlarged, with a little white showing in the sockets. I tried tetracycline for one day but thought after reading the insert that a broad-spectrum antibiotic might be better, since I don't know what kind of infection he has, so I switched to TriSulfa (it's been 3 days). Last night I did a 50% water change and added some Epsom salt. There's been no improvement. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks. <Mmm, the very best thing would be to procure, use an aquarium heater... to raise the temperature to the low eighties F. This would bring the Betta comfort and is your best chance for improving its quality of life. Bob Fenner>

Sticky Finned  Betta Hello, I have two Bettas that were doing well up until a week ago.  Symptoms are;  they seem to be trying to bury themselves in the stones on the bottom. <Not good> Their fins seem to be sticking together, they can't seem to open them fully.  They became very lethargic and have lost their appetite.  There are no signs of ICH......that I can see........ <There are other diseases...> I've had one of them for a year and he has been always frisky and healthy, the other has only been with us a couple of months. The older fish is still alive, the other died yesterday.  They are in separate bowls of course and they are only fed once a day....Do you have any idea of what could be wrong? <Mmm, my first guess is something to do with water quality... did you change a bunch of water... w/o storing it for a week ahead of use, otherwise treating it, or was there a temperature drop in the area? This is a tropical fish... needs to be kept warm> I'd really like to save/help the remaining fish. <Me too. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm and on to the Related FAQs on Systems, Disease. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance. Rhonda

Betta Illness? - 01/14/2005 Hi. <Ahoy thar, matey!> First of all kudos on the WONDERFUL website. <Ahh, thank you so much for the kind words!  And thank you for writing in.> Secondly I bought a Betta about a month ago and he's been doing fine in my  20 gallon community aquarium.   <Great to hear.  These are often excellent community fish.> He eats flakes and I haven't tried anything  else because the fish people said that if he's eating them to stick with them.   <A varied diet, in my opinion, is a much better route - perhaps incorporate some live/frozen/freeze-dried bloodworms or other "treats" occasionally.> The other fish in the tank are mainly tetras, two Corys, <I assume you mean Corys - as in Corydoras catfish?> a Pleco and  a mysterious gold fish that poops non stop.   <Ooh....  A touch of bad news.  Goldfish can and do get VERY large (like a foot long or larger), are serious waste producers, and really, really aren't good for dealing with tropical temperatures that your other fish require....  I would recommend rehousing this fish in a different (preferably larger) tank where you can more adequately meet its needs.  Also, do be aware that the Plec, if it's a common Plec, can reach a couple of feet in length - but at least they are very, very slow growers.> The gold fish was rescued from  my neighbors turtle aquarium after the turtle decided gold wasn't appetizing.   <I agree with the turtle.  Yuck.> Anyway my beta had a big diet and I was careful not to  overfeed him or any of the other fish (up to 14).   <That's an awful lot of fish in a smallish tank....> The gold fish eats a lot on his own too.  But about a week ago Jaz (Betta) started hanging around down on the bottom and just "lying" on the bottom breathing deep with one gill puffed out more than the other and his right side has a big lump on it, and his left side has a slight bulge and the area under his gills is a little bulgy too.  I have been feeding less and the fish people said to use erythromycin  so I just finished using that but no improvement.  Is he constipated or  anything like that?? <It is possibly just constipation....  but may be something much more serious.  I've seen too many Bettas lately exhibiting symptoms of Mycobacteriosis - that is a possibility.> Oh and all the water levels are totally normal <What are the readings?> and I just cleaned the tank very well... also none of the other fish have even close to the  same symptoms and my beta hasn't been eating much either unless he eats when I'm not looking.  Any advice would be great. <My best recommendation here is to remove the Betta to a smaller (heated) tank for observation....  If the bulgy look is in his belly area, and is not "lumpy" but overall round-ish, I would suspect constipation.  Offer only foods high in roughage content (thawed frozen peas with the shell squeezed off might be the easiest. Feed VERY sparingly.  Like, a small piece of a pea every couple days.  Add Epsom salt to the water at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons.  If the bulgy look is NOT as I described, but is in fact "lumpy" or "tumorous" in appearance, I would lean more toward the possibility of an internal bacterial infection....  At this point, with the symptoms that you describe, treatment will most likely not be successful.  This is no shortcoming on your part - by the time such things are visible in a fish (like the lumps), it's pretty much too late - nearly impossible to catch these things "in time".  I would keep him in a separate tank, and just care for him the best that you can.  I'm sorry I don't have better stuff to say for him - it is very obvious that you care for this fish.  I do hope that this is a simple case of constipation.> Thank you, and once again kudos on the site! <And thank you again for your kind words.  Wishing you and Jaz well,  -Sabrina>

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

Betta Tail Problems Hi, Firstly Merry Christmas! My sister and I both have Bettas. I have a blue and a red and she has a blue.  They were purchased at the same pet shop about a week apart. Both the blue ones have shrinking tail fins. Mine, Anubis, developed a hole and now what looks like a split in it. My sisters one, Merlin, has lost the feathery look of his tail and it is more a straight line now. We both dosed their tanks with fungus cure as recommended by the aquarium where they were purchased. Can you suggest anything. She has her guy in an 11 litre tank with a heater but no filter. Mine is in a 20 litre tank with filter and heater. Both tanks have the recommended dose of aquarium salt in them, have weekly 1/2 tank water changes and the correct amount of a product called "Amtrite down" - which lowers the ammonia and nitrite levels and adds the good bacteria to the tank. We are in Australia and may have different products to you. Thanks for your time. Leanne <Hi Leanne, Don here. First thing I would suggest doubling the water changes. Continue at 50%, but do them twice a week. I personally do not care for ammonia and nitrite lowering products. A well established sponge filter works far better. Doing 100% WC's a week (in two stages) will handle the ammonia from a Betta without them. To continue their use may prevent the beneficial bacteria from growing in the filter. Read here about the first 30 days with an aquarium. http://www.marineland.com/drtims_articles.asp Take note on "Bio-Filtration", the biggest advantage a sponge filter offers. Always use a gravel vac to remove the waste and uneaten food from the bottom. If their fins do not improve you may have to treat with an antibiotic for gram negative bacteria. Please do not treat without trying the increased water changes first. Most meds will kill the good bacteria along with the bad. Not a good thing>      

Prolonged Betta Treatment Hi Everyone, and happy holidays! I don't know if you remember me or my Betta Hawk's story, so here's a summary. I'd written to you all twice before concerning Hawk and his severe fin and tail rot, which was originally some kind of white lump. After taking your wonderful advice, he's hung in there for six months, withstood all kinds of treatments and water changes, etc. I've been treating him regularly with Maracyn Plus for about 2 months, and in the beginning he responded well. He even started regenerating flesh! Now, about a week ago, that white lump reappeared, and he's been completely listless. He merely leans against the side of the tank or hides in his cave for hours. Only occasionally will he dart around and go up for air. He hasn't eaten in about 3 days. Is there anything differently I should do? Just so you know, he's in a 3 gallon tank with a filter and heater. Thanks so much. Jamie K. <Two months is far to long too treat. He may be suffering from too much of a good thing. Start doing some large water changes and see if it helps. Don>

Odd lump on my Betta's tail Hi guys <Rex> What a great resource for novices such as myself!  I've looked through your FAQs and bulletin boards and while I've discovered similar questions about Bettas with lumps, they've been on the fish's body rather than it's fin.  I hope I'm not wasting your time asking a PAQ... if so, feel free to sigh deeply and point me to the appropriate answer! <Will try> I've had Benny the (Betta) Fish for two years now.  He was named after a Mafiosi character - same expression, same temperament ;-)  I bought him when I arrived in Australia and he's been my closest friend since. <Good name, spiel!> He's lived in the same bowl (capacity approx 3.4 litres) and has not had any new objects or plants introduced for several months.  He lives alone and eats 3 to 4 bloodworms a day.  His water is kept at 28 degrees C and is totally changed once a month (treated, stood, and brought up to temperature before he's put back in it).  In winter around a third of his water is taken out and replaced each week, while in summer the same amount tends to be lost through evaporation and replaced in smaller amounts more regularly. <Okay... though the diet would be better if more diversified> He seems happy (well, grumpy, but you know what I mean) and still has an appetite. However, over the past two weeks I've noticed a lump developing on his tail fin.  I first noticed it about the size of a pinhead, and started him on a treatment of BettaFix (antibacterial, tea tree oil based).  However this has had no visible effect and in fact the lump has grown... it seemed as though two smaller lumps grew in the same vicinity and merged with the first one.  I'm attaching a pic to supplement my description. <A good image> I'm concerned that whatever it is may grow towards his body and adversely affect his vital organs, or his ability to swim, or *gulp* kill him  :'-( <Appears to be a subcutaneous tumor of some sort... not likely fatal... though your Betta is getting "older"...> As I said, I'm in Australia, so some of the brand names referred to here are unfamiliar.  So if suggesting medication, please try to include a description of the ingredients and/or their proper chemical names (usually found on the bottle). Thanks so much for your help. Rex <No medication per se suggested... other than amending the fish's diet. Perhaps some prepared "Betta pellet" foods, or adding some liquid "baby vitamins" (for humans) to the bloodworms, may reverse this growths progress. Bob Fenner>

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

New Betta Ailing Hi. I just got a Betta fish about 4 days ago and he hasn't been the most active fish since day one. I have noticed that he hasn't been eating very much if at all (I'm feeding him TetraMin granules.) So I've done a little research and found this is all at least kind of normal. My real worry is since this morning he has been floating at the top of the tank on his side, if it weren't for the fact that he swam a little every few minutes I would think he was dead. I know that Betas have tendency to look dead when they "sleep" but don't they usually go to the bottom of the tank to do this? Do you think he is sick or is this a normal habit? Please respond, any information would help. Thank you so much!!!! <Hi, Don here. What you are seeing is not normal. I really do not have enough info to tell you what is wrong. He may have been sick when you got him. Or it could be the change from his old conditions to was too severe. pH shock, water too cool or warm. For right now I would stop all feeding and do a 50% water change. Then let him alone for a day or two and see if his energy increases. Make sure you get out all the old food and waste by siphoning from the bottom. If you have a heater, keep him in the high 70's, to 80. I'm not sure what your set up is, but ideal for a Betta would be a 2.5 to 5 gallon tank with a heater and sponge filter.>    

We Got a Jumper! Hi Don, Here I am again, begging for your help with another Betta. My neighbor asked me to watch his male Betta (named Mattie)  for a few days. He arrived in a bowl without a cover (I know - bad idea, but you can't tell other people what to do). I put him under the same covered glass terrarium that my Betta lives in (separate bowls of course).  I have cats and the glass cover keeps them safe. There is a string of white Christmas lights around the base of the terrarium that keeps the water warm and at a steady temperature. My Betta, Ian, is thriving in that environment. <Read ahead, so I know what's coming. If they could see each other this is a little risky. Some are so aggressive the will jump out in an attempt to get at the other. Even if covered the stress is not good> Well, I  guess you know what's coming ....  I got a phone call and was out of the room for about 30 minutes. When I came back and went over to check Mattie, he was not in his bowl. I found him on the bottom of the terrarium, under the  lights and he was pretty much shriveled and dry. I quickly put him in some clean water with a bit of aquarium salt and water conditioner in it and he came back to life right away. He swam around for awhile and appeared to re-hydrate. But now he is either hanging head up, tail down and the top of his bowl, or lying pretty much motionless on the bottom of his bowl. BTW - I covered the bowl with some Press and Seal with a lot of holes punched in it and put Mattie up on a high shelf behind some plants where hopefully the cats (the Bengal's in particular) cannot see him. Is there anything you can suggest to improve this poor little guy's chances of survival?  As you can imagine I feel just awful about this.  I called my neighbor to tell him what happened, and he feels that Mattie was upset by the lights. He has no previous history of jumping. Perhaps he was upset by Ian being near him in the other bowl. I did not think it would be a problem because last week I had another neighbor's Betta in the terrarium with Ian and they were happy as anything.  I jut feel terrible about this. I want to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season. <Same to you and yours> Thank you so very much for your help. Jaime P.S.  On a happier note, my Ian is really doing well. He eats from my finger now and happily swims around his new large bowl all day and blows lots bubbles. He was kind of a scrappy looking fish when I got him but he is filling out beautifully now. <Great to hear about Ian. Hope you have him for many years. As for the jumper. This is a problem. Most other species would have died. Bettas can take O2 from the air as long as the gills are moist, so we got lucky there. But his skin and fins drying out is of great concern. That tissue is dead. This opens him up to infections. But as stressed and weak as he is, a strong med is out of the question. Try a few drops of Methylene Blue. Most pet stores will carry this. It helps kill fungus and is gentle enough to use on eggs and fry. It will also raise the O2 in the water helping the gills. An airstone would also help. Keep the water clean and warm and cross your fingers. But I have to say, I don't think his chances are good. Sorry. Don>     

Bettas with Ich Greetings...I have read through the "Icky Betta" advice from Don to the owner of "Miss Fish". Both my Bettas, Shadow and Big Red, have a few tiny white spots some on fins and now on gills. They are in separate 2.5 gal tanks; h2o a little cool at 74 to 76 degrees; change h2o 2x per week...33% to 45%. I wish to try the salt treatment and will buy two more 2.5 gal tanks for treatment tanks. My Bettas friends have been with me for about two weeks. I am a complete novice and have no idea about Ph or nitrites. Re nitrates, I have tested my tap water and the nitrate level (according to the Tetratest NO3) is at 12.5 mg/l...yikes. I will try a new test kit, but this water is not recommended for human consumption, so who knows? My goldfish, Sparky and Dart, and other snail, Goldie, have been fine for ages! To complicate the situation a little further, I have a snail in each main Betta tank, one black and one gold "mystery" or apple snail. What should I do with my snail buddies? Can I leave them in the main tanks with high temps (the suggested 86 degrees for one month)? Or does fishless mean snailless too, in order to rid the main tanks of latent Ich? Also, what about plants in main tanks? RE Bettas in treatment tank: should I now add a sponge filter and heater to each new  bare bottom tank? I currently have hood lights...however, it seems that I should be turning them off in the evening. Also, 1 tbsp of salt per every 2 gals of h2o = sea salt? I  appreciate your help and also this info-packed forum. Thank you so much, blind turtle <First, your snails can not be infected with Ich. You need to QT them away from fish for the 30 days just to ensure there are none riding on or in the shells. But they can't infect him and will starve without a fish host. You can leave him in the infected tank, but keep the temp around 82 instead. Plenty warm enough if you wait the entire 30 days to add back the Bettas. Leave the plants and snails in the "mini-mains" and the fish only to the treatment tanks. You will need a heater. Keep them around 80-82F during treatment, 78 to 80 afterwards. Add either a sponge filter or just an airstone. Whenever you treat, you need to test. Get tests for ammonia and nitrite. Do water changes, replacing the salt, to keep both at zero. No time to get any bio filtration going anyway, so you need to test and change daily. You can not go by tablespoons when adding salt at these high levels. The course aquarium salt will measure differently than a smaller sized crystal. You need to weigh or use a refractor that measures salt content. Don>  

Flesh colored growth on Betta I am sorry I do not have the ability to send a picture of my son's betta. We have had him for about 9 months to a year. Over the last 3 months he has developed a flesh colored bump. the bump is fairly large in relation to his eye (slightly larger than eye), and it is behind his  eye and in front of his  gill. The pet store had no idea and said that maybe he injured itself on the  rock we keep in the tank. It is a plastic rock though. The tank is not the cleanest but we have tried medication that they gave us. He seems almost the  same as when we got him but just a little depressed. Can you help us? Susan

I need help for my Betta Hi crew, <Jamie> I have a Betta that I keep in a bowl and his stomach has been very swollen for the past three weeks.  He has been eating a little bit but I recently noticed that he developed some sort of a large white spot on his stomach yesterday.  I was treating his water for the past week with Betta remedy drops.  I'm not sure what to do for him, any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks, Jamie <I would try mixing in the equivalent of one level teaspoon of Epsom Salt to relieve the welling, and try feeding some live or frozen Brine Shrimp in the hopes of helping your Betta. Please read here re others efforts with similar complaints: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm and on to the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

Curly finned Betta Hi again, I have a Betta about 2 years old suffering from a curly looking top fin that is effecting his swimming. He is eating but floats tail first back to the bottom after struggling to get to the top to feed. He stays on the bottom. I would like to try and help him. what can I do? Thank you. <Mmm, this is either a developmental/genetic or nutritional situation... not a disease per se. Keeping your environment stable and optimized (the bowl cleaned regularly) and your Betta well-fed is about all you can do. The bend in the dorsal/top fin is natural, not a hindrance to your fish. Bob Fenner>

Betta with Pinched Tail I've had my male Betta Mortimer for about 4 months. In the last 2 weeks I've noticed that his tail looks as though someone pinched it together. Even when he swims around, the tail seems to be stuck together into a point. Any ideas on how I can restore Morty's tail to it's original flowing glory? <Clamped fins/tail are definitely a sign that something is wrong.  Have you tested his water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? I'd suggest increasing the number of water changes.  Also, not to jump ahead, but it seems as though you don't have a heater (nor could you, in a 1.5 gal. bowl.)  I might suggest upgrading his digs to a 3 gal. tank (minimum), with a 25watt heater.  That way, you could keep his water temp. constant at around 80 degrees - the optimum Betta water temp.> Morty is less active (he used to be very peppy and busy all the time) and eats sporadically. <Bettas do sometimes get bored...perhaps re-arrange his tank, if at all possible?? He's in a 1.5 gal container with one small plastic plant and some gravel. I do partial water changes once each week and total water changes once every 3 weeks with distilled bottled water and a few drops of Aqua Safe thrown in for good measure (I pour the gravel into a small plastic tub and rinse it with distilled water several times since I don't have a filter system). I transfer Morty to a separate bowl of distilled water while I do this (I scoop him out gently with a cup so that he stays in water the whole time). I often feed him 3 Betta Gold pellets twice each day, but decrease the number as needed if I notice he's not eating a lot. <Everything sounds great with the exception of using bottled water.  There are essential elements missing from bottled water that fish need...I'd suggest gradually replacing the bottled water with tap water (using a dechlorinator first, of course)...maybe he's suffering from a lack some mineral trace element?> After pouring over the FAQs, I'll try getting a heater and giving him bloodworm treats. <You could actually just replace on of his daily "dry food" meals with frozen, thawed bloodworms...Bettas love these, and they are very good nutritionally.  Hikari makes a great frozen bloodworm product.  Also, if it's possible, see about getting him a little bit larger tank with a filtration system and heater...the Eclipse 3 is a perfect choice, in my opinion.  Good luck,  Jorie> Sara Molyneux
Re: Betta with Pinched Tail
Hi, I just wanted to thank the WetWebMedia crew for their help. It turns out that the root of Morty's ailment was indeed water temperature that was too cold! I was able to get Morty into a warmer environment over the weekend and have seen 100% improvement. His tail is back to normal, he's eating well, and back to his zippy self again. Also he really seems to like the Hikari bloodworm treats as recommended. What a relief! Best regards Sara L. Molyneux <Hi Sara, I'm so glad to hear Morty's doing well again! Just be sure to keep the temperature as constant as possible, as drastic fluctuations are even worse for the Betta than cooler, steady temperatures.  Best of luck, and glad to hear the good news! Jorie>

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

My Crown Tail Betta's Fins are breaking My Crown Tail seems very happy other than the fins are not long and flowing as before.  He eats well and makes lots of bubbles, but I don't know how to help him with the fins and I am scared I will lose him.  I got some Beta Fix from the pet store and have been putting 12 drops per day in his water.  I did this for 7 days and then changed the water.  The instructions said I could repeat the treatment which I have been doing, but I don't see any change. Is there something I am doing wrong?  He was so beautiful and I want to see him healthy again.   I change his water every 4-5 days so I don't understand how he could have fungus as the pet store person told me. Thank you very much. <Hello...Jorie here.  I'm so glad you are doing water changes every 4-5 days, but in all honesty, problems like this are usually caused by poor water quality.  Do you have access to a test kit that measures ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Just double check to see if any toxins have built up.  Also, how big is his tank? Are you using tap water for water changes? If so, remember to use a chlorine remover (or age the water for at least a day).  It's great that he's eating and building bubble nests, both of which are signs of health.  And if it were fungus you were dealing with, you'd actually see the fungus.  Based on what you are describing, it sounds like mild fin/tail rot, which is cured by keeping the water quality pristine.  Hope I helped, Jorie>
Re: My Crown Tail Betta's Fins are breaking
Thank you for your prompt reply.  The only kind of water I use is Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water so I don't think it could be the water. <Actually, it's really not a good idea to use bottled water for an aquarium, as it is lacking certain trace elements fish need to stay healthy.  I'd recommend you gradually switch to tap water, of course remembering to use the dechlorinator.  Of course, this is supposing you don't have "problem" tap water to begin with...try testing the tap water first to ensure it is OK.> Last night, I changed his water again and this time, I rinsed the bowl (which is a large round bowl of almost a gallon) in extremely hot water and then rinsed it in cold.  I dried off his bowl, rocks and house with paper towels before placing back in the bowl. This morning though, he didn't seem to want to eat as eagerly as usual. Could I be feeding him too much?  I have been using the teeny Betta bites and the instructions say to feed him twice per day.  Maybe I should give him less.   <Do you have a thermometer in this tank? If so, what are you keeping the water temperature at? When Bettas act "strange", sometimes it is because they are too cold...an optimal Betta water temperature is between 80 and 82 degrees F.  Do you have a tank large enough to accommodate a heater? In my opinion, the minimum size tank that would be is a 3 gal...this tank will accommodate a 25w heater. Just a thought.  With regards to the feeding, as long as he is consuming the amount of food you give him at each feeding within a 2-3 min. period of time, you're doing a great job with "portion control". > Thank you again.  I certainly do not want to lose my baby.  He was still active this morning and happy to see me but I am concerned. <Please let me know how big your tank is so we can figure out if a heater is possible.  Sounds like you care very much for your pet, and I'm sure he's very appreciative! Take care, Jorie>

Re: Ruffle's DEAD *sniffles* Hi WWM Crew (Jorie) So sad, my fuchsia color crown Betta (Ruffles) is DEAD ~_~ *sniffles* (the one I bought for only 3 weeks) *sigh* I came home today from work and found that he was lying lifeless on the bottom, on his side...color faded, skin flakey and eyes cloudy! <Oh, I'm really sorry, Joanne...> What's going on?? The only thing I noticed that was unusual was the 'open' gill incident I was talking to you guys about last time. He was still eating, staying alert and flaring as usual...then just last night he refused to eat a flake (because I usually feed him Hikari pellets anyways) so I thought it was normal. What do u think might have happened? My boyfriend suggested he probably suffered from depression? <I don't think depression would have killed him, especially that suddenly.  Probably he wasn't well when you purchased him - likely there really wasn't anything you could do for him.  As I think I've mentioned before, Bettas can become "depressed" (they are actually very responsive, intelligent little creatures) and many of them like to have their tank decor re-arranged every now and again. But I really doubt this would have killed him.> What could've caused his depression? He does like to lie around a lot on the gravels on the bottom. But like I've said before, he did play - DEAD with me once (which I think it's cute, come to think of it) Or maybe he had a fungus growing in his gill that's why he couldn't close it? <That is possible...> I really couldn't see it...I feel really bad. Now a question I have are about these 'decorative aquarium gravel from MARINA', it states that they're dust free, safe and non-toxic. But I kept seeing these 'debris' every time I rinse/wash them during water change and I'm worried that it could be the cause to my Betta's death. What do you guys think? If so I'd remove them from my veil tail (Wiggles) ASAP! <Did you rinse the gravel before you put it into the tank? That's always the best idea, and I usually like to soak it overnight in a bucket or something.  If you didn't, perhaps you can do so now...do you have a temporary home for Wiggles? Just rinse the gravel in plain water, no soap, chemicals or anything else necessary.  Forgive me, but I cannot remember if you have a filtration unit on the tank in question...if so, that will likely suck up some of the debris coming from the gravel.  If not, just do more water changes (I know, I sound like a broken record when it comes to that topic, but it is such a good preventative and even curative method in some cases!)> Joanne <Sorry about Ruffles, Joanne.  Wish we could have helped him. Good luck with Wiggles, Jorie>

Betta Savior Hello Crew! I just stumbled upon your site and it was one of the best mistakes I have made in a long time. I was at Wal-Mart buying new rocks for my Betta Convict's bowl when I noticed that the Bettas they were selling there were all in those little globes and the water looked like milk in all of them. After checking these globes I discovered that all but one of the males was dead. I immediately decided to buy him and then I went to yell at the fish personnel. The fish I bought, Bernard, perked up as soon as I put him in clean water and fed him a little bit. But I've noticed that just outside his gills, on the area that comes out when he flares, there looks to be a dirt like substance on the outer fringe. In addition to this strange occurrence there is a whitish iridescent crust on the outside edge of his gills. I am sure this is not normal but I don't know what to treat him with because I cannot find a mention of a disease like this anywhere. Thanks to your website, I have learned that my other Betta, Convict, has fin and tail rot and I will tend to that right away. I thank you for your time, but I think Bernard and Convict will thank you more. Sandy <First, Thanks for saving a life. Very good of you. As long as he seems active and is eating I would not treat at this point. Keep his water very clean and fresh. The skin problem you see may be from pH shock. Who knows what the pH in that dirty little bowl was? If a swing in pH does not kill in a few days the fish will adjust to your far better conditions and be fine. Don>

Sickly Betta with a white spot Hello. <Hi...this is Jorie> I just discovered your website today and wish I had known about it a lot earlier. <'Tis a great website...I'm very grateful to have found it a few years back myself!>   I have one male Betta in a (probably) ½ gallon "Betta keeper."  It doesn't have a filtration system or anything like that.  Luigi was really healthy and active till recently, but all of a sudden he's just lying at the bottom of the tank.  He's breathing pretty heavily and has a decent-size white spot behind his gill (I don't think it's fuzzy or anything - almost looks more like a gouge, but he's by himself).  I'm feeling like this is probably all my fault because I haven't been watching him that closely.  I've had him for about 3 months.  He was a really good eater (Wardley Circle of Care), but now he's not even interested.  He does come up to the top to breathe every once in a while. <How often do you do water changes on this little tank? This is very important, especially since there isn't a filtration system.  With a tank that size, I'd do maybe 2 75% changes per week.  Also, be very careful not to overfeed your Betta...they only need about 4-5 pellets per feeding (whatever they can consume in about 2-3 minutes).  If there is excess food lying around the tank, that will just contribute to poor water quality. When you are doing water changes, be sure to match the temperature and pH as closely as possible of the old to new water. Additionally, I assume you are using tap water - be sure to use a dechlorinator to remove chlorine from the water...there are many brands available at most pet stores.  Follow the directions on the bottle for  dosage. Also, might I suggest you "upgrade" his food to the Hikari brand pellets...Wardley is pretty much on the low-end of the scale.  A small container of Hikari pellets won't cost you too much more, and it will be greatly appreciated by your friend.  I think that with proper maintenance (i.e., more frequent water changes) your Betta will be just fine...sounds like a completely fixable situation!> I've learned a lot from reading over your site today, but I'm wondering if there's any chance to save Luigi now. <Water changes, water changes, water changes.  Is he still swimming and eating? If so, it's definitely not a lost cause.>   I keep him at work with me - the pet store said he would be really low-maintenance. <Sadly, my friend, you've learned the hard way that some fish stores can be less than reliable.  Not that the Betta is "high maintenance", per se, but it does have specific requirements.  The one additional thing I'd suggest is to get a small floating thermometer to keep an eye on the tank's temperature...ideally, it should be at between 80 and 82 degrees for the Betta, but more importantly, be sure to keep the temp. as constant as possible.  You won't find a heater for a tank that small that won't fry the fish, so I certainly wouldn't suggest that, but I would suggest avoiding putting the tank in direct sunlight, etc.> I can't afford an expensive set-up, but is there anything I can do to help him?  I haven't been working much this morning because I'm feeling so bad for him. <Since Xmas is just around the corner, perhaps you could put a 3 gal. Eclipse tank on your list for your friend.  I've got two Bettas each in their own 3 gal tanks, and it's a Betta heaven, I tell you! The reason I suggest the Eclipse is that it comes with a 3 stage filtration unit.  I don't remember the exact cost, but I do not believe I spent more than $35 for the entire set up (and maybe even less than that).  You would then be able to fit a 5 watt heater in the tank to ensure constant temperature, and you'd be able to do less water changes (the more water in a tank, the more stable the environment).  As for your Betta's present situation, just keep doing water changes religiously, as I'm guessing poor water condition is the culprit here. Hope I helped you and your fishy friend...good luck, and let me know if you have more questions! Jorie> Meghan

My Betta had an accident Hey, I know it'll take you a few days before you can answer, but I thought I should ask. <Hello...Jorie here...I try to answer as quickly as I can, but as we all are, I'm super-busy these days! Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner...> See, I was cleaning my Betta's tank and I had him in a little glass like I always do when I clean. Well, this time he jumped out. <Uh-oh...sorry you had to learn the hard way to keep the container covered.  I usually just wrap a towel around the bowl whenever I'm doing this sort of complete water change in the Betta's main tank, both to protect from jumping, but also to (hopefully) give the fish a sense of security.  I imagine being transplanted like that can be stressful.> I wasn't ready for this because he never tries to jump out of his container. <Yep, they do do this sometimes...> I had to catch him before he went down the drain. I barely caught him. <Yikes! So glad you did!> Well, now his tail is all raggedy and it has little brown spots on it. He's usually a really bright purple. His tail is in strips. I didn't mean to hurt him. Also his gills are swollen looking. Not on the outside, but on the inside. Like the meat part is poofing out. I can't remember if his gills always looked like that. Anyway, if he lives (I'd be surprised because he looks so awful) will his tail grow back together? He's swimming around and eating. He's just a little skittish. I figure that's understandable. Will he be OK? <Of course you didn't mean to hurt him.  Just remember that all fish have the capacity to jump and it's always a good idea to keep containers covered.  Bettas can be surprisingly resilient little creatures...just be sure to keep his water conditions pristine, and you may want to even add a bit of MelaFix to the water to stimulate tail re-growth.  It may take some time, but with good water quality and lots of rest, he should be OK.  Just so long as he's eating and swimming, it doesn't seem to me as though he's in pain.  Just keep your eye on him and let us know if he takes a turn for the worse.  Hopefully, he'll be just fine! Good luck, Jorie>

Pin Holes in Betta Tail Just curious as to whether you can explain the recent occurrence of what appears to be pin holes in the fin and tail of my Beta. I've never noticed them before and I've had him for 2 years now. It doesn't appear that he is unhealthy, he's fairly energetic. Thank you very much for your time!   Joanna <Hi Joanna, Don here. Most fin problems start with poor water quality. You might want to increase the number of water changes you are doing. Adding a little salt, 1 tbls per 2 or 3 gallons, will help prevent fungus from attacking the damaged tissue while he heals>

Re: Underneath Betta's Gills are inflamed Hey WWM (thanks for Jorie's advice last time)...it's me again. My Betta is still experiencing fin rot (getting worse) *pouts* <I think it may be time to try antibiotics as a treatment.  Fin rot is caused by a gram negative rod bacteria, so something like tetracycline would work.  Any broad spectrum antibiotic suitable for gram negative bacteria will be fine, but my preference is tetracycline.  Again, only treat your fish while he's in QT alone - do a big water change before beginning treatment, to eliminate any ammonia or other toxic buildup, then treat according to the instructions.  You will want to remove the filter media while treating as well.  Do once full course of treatment, do a water change, then re-assess the situation to see if he's improved.  You can do a second course of treatment with almost all antibiotics, including tetracycline, if necessary.> He seems to be pretty active and alert still, but I noticed underneath his gills when he flares (which he has been doing a lot today) is pretty red. is that ok? What should I do? <Perhaps this is a sign of the fin rot advancing to the body...treat with antibiotics as specified above ASAP.> I fed him ONE Hikari pellet because I haven't fed him for days to cure his constipation and keeping water clean. I'm still using 'BettaFix' or 'BettaMax' as treatments with a touch of Aquarium salt. No improvement on the fin and tail rot though (on the crown Betta at least) - the 2nd Betta (bi-color) is improving. <Leave the 2nd Betta in the tank with the BettaFix and BettaMax if he's improving, but isolate the other and do the antibiotic treatment.  The BettaFix and BettaMax are mainly extract of tea tree oil, so they won't help an advanced case of fin rot.  Your other fish does need other medications and soon, but do be sure he's separated from the other fish before doing so.> JNW - Joanne <Jorie>
Re: Underneath Betta's Gills are inflamed
Thanks for the tips (Jorie) I was wondering if there's any method in finding out how old my Betta is? <None that I am aware of.  The best estimate I know of is solely based on how  long you've had your pet, then add maybe 6-8 mos. on to account for the time prior to and at the pet store.  Rough guestimate at best, but unless you've raised your Betta since fryhood, I don't know how else to tell.> My crown Betta has been jerking back and forth, opening his mouth real wide...is he having trouble breathing? What kind of behavior is that? <Could just be his way of expressing himself...each Betta is really unique and has his own personality.  It could also be a symptom of swim bladder disorder, but if you are following the instructions I previously gave you, that should resolve this potential problem as well.  Keep the water quality clean, don't overfeed, and all should be well.> I bought another crown Betta (fuchsia color- real pretty) and he definitely behaves quite differently! I watched him for a bit while he swims back and forth in his new tank, then all of a sudden he floats at the top on his side. for a few minutes he wasn't moving and I thought he was dead. But when I walked over to him and moved my finger to catch his attention, he like woke up and swam around again. Is that normal? What is he doing? <Bettas are really intelligent fish, believe it or not.  I have one Betta who acts similarly to what you describe here...even to this day, I walk by the tank sometimes and think "Oh my God, he's a goner", but he's just resting/sleeping/playing dead/who-knows-for-sure!  I'm not sure that anyone can tell you exactly what is going on in the Betta's mind, but this is far from abnormal Betta behavior, so don't worry.  Just keep exercising him with your finger or a mirror every couple of days or so, just to keep him from getting bored, and all should be well!> JNW - Joanne <Good luck, Joanne! How's the fish responding to the antibiotics, by the way?>

Icky Betta I have a female Betta (Miss Fish) and we just placed her in a larger tank with 3 other communal fish about 2 weeks ago. When I came home from work yesterday our yellow-tailed guppy was dead. I did take her out immediately. Later that night we noticed Miss Fish was starting to get small white spots on her fins. This morning she had a spot on her nose and still some on the fins. She was hiding out in her cave and not very active. We took her out of the aquarium and placed her in her older smaller goldfish tank with fresh water. Could this be "Ick"? It sounds like it is from what I read, but not sure if the dead fish could have effected her. Anything we can do to treat her? Should we thoroughly scrub the other tank also? Thanks for any help. <Hi, Don here. It does sound like Ick. If there is any way to remove the other two fish and allow the main to run fishless for a month the parasite will starve out. If you do this, keep everything running and raise the temp to 86. The fish should go into a small, bare bottom tank. Add one tbls of salt for every 2 gallons of water. Do a 50% water change daily, siphoning from the bottom. If you notice a large number of spots disappear after a water change, wait an hour and do another, again from the bottom. Have the same concentration of salt already dissolved in the replacement water. Because of the life cycle of Ick, treatment must continue for at least two weeks after the last spot drops off. Because of this, salt is my preferred treatment. It's not as harsh as some meds and costs a lot less. And it's 100% effective>

Swollen Betta Hi WWM Crew! I've got 2 Bettas (One is a Tri-colored CROWNTAIL and the other is just a Bi-colored male Betta) 2 days ago I noticed the CROWN Betta is not eating and less active. I had this Betta for a year now and I shamefully admit that I don't have much Betta care knowledge. Just today I noticed that his gill cover has a bit of white patches, which I suspect is spread from his pelvic fin. (since one side of his pelvic fin has dissolved/eaten away by bacterial) I am very sad to see that he's suffering! Though he seems pretty alert and active now. (after I've treated him with BETTAFIX - yesterday & BETTAMAX - today) I've also changed his water and treated it with *super strength* tap water conditioner - as usual and sanitized Betta BOWL & HEX TANK with AQUARIUM SALT. Unfortunately I keep them in my room and the space is minimal so I can't place them in a tank. What can I do? =_= Another thing is that I don't have anything to keep track of his water temperature or the Nitrate/Nitrite levels (I'm not even familiar with what they are, still reading your Q&A's in learning - thanks a bunch to your website!) Last but not least, I notice the fins are a bit shorter and signs of splits too. I would hate to see them die, especially due to my carelessness. Now I know to keep temperature to 80. and I'll try to keep it constant and the same when I change water. I love both my Betta cause they've brought me a lot of happiness with their unique personalities! I miss them building their bubble nest...I really need some help please. J.N.W. <<Hello, do not panic :) All you can do at this point is keep their water clean by doing regular water changes, and continue treating them with antibiotic/antibacterial meds. Good job so far on trying to catch up on your knowledge of fishkeeping. Next thing you need to do is buy yourself an ammonia test kit, and use it regularly. Ideally, the ammonia level should be kept at .25 or lower, in order to keep the animal as stress-free as possible. Of course, the more water, the better. But at least testing your bowls will give you an idea of how often you need to change their water. Fish produce ammonia as a waste product. In a tank with a filter, for example, the ammonia is oxidized into nitrite, and then to nitrate. When we cycle a new tank, the ammonia stays in the water until enough bacteria grow to use it up, changing it to nitrite...then the nitrite stays in the water until the bacteria grow to use it, changing that to nitrate. This process takes about a month. In a bowl, however, there is no filter, hence the ammonia stays in the water and just gets higher and higher, to the point where it can burn the fish's gills, even. You must test the water to know the levels, and change the water when those levels get too high. Chances are, you can even have some level of nitrite in a bowl, but it is just as toxic as ammonia, you do not want either to get higher than .25ppm. If you control the ammonia, you control the rest :) By the way, fish cannot recuperate in water with high levels of any of those things, no matter how many meds you add, the stress is still there in the form of high ammonia. Hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions if you need to. :) -Gwen>>
Swollen Betta 2 Thanks a bunch WWM (Gwen) U guys are da best! <Hi there...you've got Jorie here this time...> I appreciate your reply...I've now changed the waters more frequently and will the Nitrite test kit as advised. <Excellent.  Be sure that ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings are all at zero.> Since my Crowntail Betta is swollen, should I not feed him for a few days like I have to see if is just constipation? <I would suggest you start there, yes.  Also, check to see if there are visible traces of fish poop - that's a good indication as well.> I've read on some of the replies that for constipation I should give them some 'Epsom' salt, does that help? How does it work? <One or two teaspoons of Epsom salt in a 5 gal. tank would be an appropriate dosage, and yes indeed it can help constipation, since it will act as a laxative. Or, you can try feeding your Betta a frozen, thawed shelled pea...some will eat them, some won't. That's another route used to treat fish constipation.> My bi-color Betta seems to be developing 'grey' patches around his gills, what is that? <Sounds like it's a fungus of some sort - when was the last time you changed his water? If he in his own tank? If so, I'd suggest you begin treating with something like Maracyn (erythromycin).  Be sure to pull out the filter media before beginning treatment according to the instructions on the packaging.> Joanne N.W. <Hope I helped, Joanne.  Good luck.  Jorie>
Follow up Betta questions
Hey crew! (Jorie) *smiles* I recently named my Bettas, but I don't recall telling you guys the names yet.. hehe and they are: Bubbles, Wiggles and Ruffles <Awww, very cute!> My Betta(s) are now getting better, (Bubbles - tri color crown tail)  is now experiencing tail and fin rot, but I'm keeping the water in tip top condition! <Excellent.  Water quality is paramount, so do keep on top of that.> I'm feeding all three of them 1 Hikari pellet a day. But the antibiotic is working quite well cus (Wiggles - bi color veil tail) has healed so I removed him back into his bigger tank. <Good to hear.  Should the problem re-surface, you could do another round of the same antibiotic, but hopefully that won't be necessary.> Oh, I got bigger tanks for them by the way because I remember how u said a bigger environment can result in better quality of water right? <Right! Sure your fishies are happy in their new digs!> As for (Ruffles - new fuchsia crown tail) is behaving normally, but I notice yesterday after he had his flaring contest with Wiggles, one of his gill (left side) wouldn't close. He doesn't seem to be bothered by it, so I left it alone. But do u think he'll be ok? <I've seen this before, could just be part of his anatomy.  Keep an eye on him, though, and if it appears to be getting bigger/worse, re-assess.  Sounds totally normal right now.> JNW - Joanne

Betta Problems Hi, it's Jeremy again, as I was feeding my Betta the last few days I've noticed he wasn't looking healthy at all. He would stay near the top of his tank with just his mouth out of the water so he can breath. Just today I started to clean his tank and when I looked at him more closely and noticed some pretty bad problems. First I noticed his eyes had large white dots in them and when he looked around his eyes appeared to be protruding pretty far. I'm pretty sure this is Popeye or cloudy eye. Then I saw just behind his eye some white blotches, I took a closer look with a flashlight and saw that there was a good size gash in his head! It looks like a v-shaped cut with the v folded, protruding straight out. As I looked him over with the flash light, I noticed the top of his head is brown, and he has brown blotches everywhere! Now I'm really starting to worry. I looked at his fins, because he's been recovering from fin and tail rot, and his pectoral fins are clear! They look like they have lost all webbing between! They just look like brown strings barely holding shape, and his fins still looked torn. I inspected his tank next and then saw it. I didn't believe I've never noticed it before but the fake plant in his tank is really sharp! What was I thinking?! I'm guessing that his fins were torn on that and that's most likely where that cut came from. But it still doesn't explain the brown blotches, or the Popeye. I change his tank water every two weeks, and feed him 3-4 Hikari Bio Gold pellets twice a day. I was treating him with Melafix for his tail rot, should I put him back on it? I also check his water frequently. As soon as I see the nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia levels rise I change his water. What should I do??? Am I doing anything wrong? And how can I prevent this in the future? Thank you! <<Hey Jeremy, sorry to hear you are having such troubles. The best way to prevent these problems is to keep testing your water and doing regular, partial water changes. I realize you have been testing your water, good job! Please keep doing water changes, and make sure, when you do them, that the water is dechlorinated, and that it's the Same Temperature as the bowl! Use a thermometer if you need to, for better precision. Also, it's stressful for the fish to be too cold, you may need to add a heater for the winter months temperature between 75 and 80F will be best, remember, keep it stable! As for the blotches and pop-eye, you may need a stronger medication than Melafix at this point. Go to your LFS and ask them for some Maracyn II. Here is a link to help you: http://www.aquariumguys.com/maracynii.html Ask your LFS guys/gals how to dose it for a small bowl. Good luck! Remember, water quality is the key to keeping fish healthy :) -Gwen>>

Intense body fungus on Betta?! Hello and how are you? I hope you can offer some much-needed insight on my male Betta. I bought him in early spring, and somewhere around June he developed a weird white lump on his side.  We were advised by the pet store to change the water and treat him with Betta Fix, which we did for the recommended time frame.  He seemed to get a little better, then...the weird lump came back, along with white patches on the skin.  Since June we've treated him with Erythromycin tablets, which didn't seem to work.  Now we've been treating him with aquarium salt, Pimafix, and Melafix, along with a partial water change every week. We suspect that it's a combination of body fungus and fin/tail rot, but it's getting even worse now.  The white patches are spreading and his bottom fin is being eaten away. All along, the little guy has hung in there.  He eats (beta flakes every other day) and is very active; he flares at me when I come into the room.  He likes the temp to be warm, town 80-85 degrees. I'm not sure what else to do for him! Thanks for your thoughts. < Try treating with Metronidazole for the internal infection and Nitrofuranace for the body slime and tail rot. Unfortunately these medications are usually in tablets that treat 10 gallons at a time. Clean the tank before medicating.-Chuck> ~Jamie

Betta recovering? Looks terrible! Hi Everyone, I hope you're all doing well, and let me say thank you for all your great advice and information on this website. I had written to you all about a month ago about my male Betta, Hawk, who has been battling some sort of weird disease since June.  It started off as a white lump, then turned into a white patch, then massive fin and tail rot  (all at his back end and bottom fin--also, he's in about a 5 gallon tank with a charcoal filter).  I went through BettaFix, Melafix, PimaFix, tetracycline tablets, and when he took a turn for the worse, I contacted you all.  A very nice gentleman suggested I try treating him with Metronidazole for any internal infection and Nitrofuranace for his slime coat.  Unfortunately, none of the pet stores in my area carried these medications, and the situation was desperate, so I bought Maracyn Plus. Then I did a complete water change and tossed all his old gravel, little castle, and nasty plastic plant and since replaced it with fresh gravel, a silk plant, and a little hidey-hole cave.  Thankfully, Hawk seemed to improve.  He's a lot livelier and swimming around, always eager to eat (switched his food, too, from flakes to Hikari Betta Bio Gold pellets--he loves em!) The thing that worries me now is, his flesh seems to be regenerating, but it's still all white and it looks as if he's been chewed on. Is this normal? < Strange as it looks, this is the flesh regenerating. A white fuzzy look is fungus and needs to be treated. What you are seeing is a very good sign that your fish is recovering from the bacterial infection.> Does it take a very long time for flesh and fins to heal after something this bad? < Depends on the water temp, water quality and type of food. Be patient.> Lo and behold I found the previous recommended medications on the Drs. Foster & Smith website (plain Metronidazole crystals and a product called Furan-2, which contains the Nitrofuranace, Furazolidone, and Methylene blue Trihydrate). So my real question to you is, should I change the  medications again? < No the Maracyn seems to be working so stay with it as per the directions on the package.-Chuck> Or should I continue with the Maracyn Plus and maybe find a compatible product that will also treat his slime coat? This little fish is amazing, he deserves all the help I can give him!  I'll try anything.  And again thanks for your time! ~Sincerely, Jamie

A Bettas Time Thank you for your suggestions on how to save my Betta. Unfortunately nothing worked and he seems intent on dying. And maybe he is a very old fish and its just his time. He just sort of hangs in the tank almost vertical and every so often he has a spasm and releases a big bubble. If I can't save him I just want him to die comfortably. Do you think I should just leave him be? Or shut the lights off him? Should I still try and give him food? Please don't tell me to flush him because I could not do that. Thank you again for your help. Thankfully my new Betta is living happily and wants to eat constantly. I really appreciate your help. Jaime <Hi Jaime, Don here. Sorry that your Betta is not improving. If you see him trying to get active, you can try feeding a tiny pinch. But do remove any uneaten while doing water changes. If he does not show any energy, it may be time to put him down. Don't worry, no one here would ever suggest you flush a living fish. The best way is to use clove oil. You can get it at some health food or natural remedy stores. Just a few drops stirred into a cup of his water, then add the Betta. Leave him in there for at least an hour. A very peaceful death. Another way is cold shock. Put a cup of water in the freezer until you get skim ice on top. Break away the ice and add the fish to the cold water. Very quick.>
A Thank You
Hi Don, I cannot thank you enough for all your help. <You just did, it is my pleasure> The Betta has passed on now and I am trying to accept that maybe he was just very old. <Sorry to hear> At least my other one is doing well and I will turn all my attention to him now. It's amazing how attached one can get to a fish, isn't it? Again, I thank you for your kindness and your good advice. Jaime <Good luck with him. Hope to see you join us in the forum. I'm "Fish Soup" there>

Betta Fins Two days ago, I woke up to find my Siamese Fighting fish has lost part of his tail. He is in a smallish tank by himself, with no other fish around. I feed him dried blood worms once a day and clean out his tank about every 10 days. What is the problem and what do I do about it? Your help would be appreciated. Regards Zoë <Hi Zoë, Don here. The fin decay you see usually starts with poor water conditions. It would be much better to do small partial water changes more often. Say 25% every 3 days. For right now I would do a few 50% water changes over the next day or two and add a little salt to help him heal and prevent fungus. I usually suggest 2 to 3 tbls per 10 gallons. Not sure of the size of your tank. A few other points. If you do not have a small heater, I suggest you get one. Bettas need a steady temp in the high 70's. An air powered sponge filter would be an ideal addition. And vary his diet. Bloodworms are a good food, but not complete. There are a lot of good Betta foods out there>   

Tumor-like growth on Betta Hello, <HI...Jorie here> First I'd like to say your web page is very helpful and informative. Thank you for making this resource available. <You're welcome.  I can honestly say that I learned almost everything I know about aquariums and fishkeeping from this site, so I, too, am grateful for it!> I've a Betta that has a problem. He eats fine, but his demeanor is somewhat erratic. He startles easily at times, makes darting grabs for his food and circles the bowl at speed. <Hmmm...I'm not sure that this behavior by itself is odd for a Betta, unless you've recently noticed a change.  Bettas all seem to have their own little personalities, and this doesn't sound unlike some of the ones I've kept in the past.> He's developed a swollen tumor-like growth on his side, discolored black and his tail is diminished, also with black along its outer edge. Is there anything I can do to treat him? <OK, this is obviously the sign of a problem.  First of all, have you tested the water you keep your Betta in for ammonia, nitrite and nitrates? Also, a bit more info. would be great...how big is the tank you keep him in, how long has it been set up, what's the temperature of the water and also the pH, and does he have any tankmates?   With regards specifically to the growth, is it symmetrical or not? Are his scales protruding? If so, that could be a sign of dropsy, which is in fact a symptom of myriad diseases.  Or, more simply, the fish could be constipated...have you noticed if he's pooping? If it is constipation, adding one or two tsp. of Epsom salt per 5 gal. of water should help, along with trying to feed your Betta a frozen, then thawed, pea (some go for it, some don't).  You would want to fast him for a few days prior to the pea, as well, which may make it more enticing and should also help with the constipation.  If this is an asymmetrical lump, or tumor, as you said earlier, it could also be a tumor.  How long have you had this fish (how old is he, if you know)? Many older Bettas (normal lifespan is between 2-3 years) do seem to develop tumors as they age, and I have yet to find anything that will cure it.  As long as the affected fish is swimming normally, eating normally, and generally looks OK, I think he's fine...it's when the fish starts losing his appetite, laying on the bottom, etc., that I would start to recommend euthanasia.> Regards, Lee Cutler <Hope this information helps.  If you can get back to me with a little bit more info., I can better help you diagnose the problem, but right now, it seems as though it could be one of several things.  Good luck! Jorie>
Re: Tumor-like growth on Betta
Hi Lee, I'm trying to envision what this growth looks like, and I'm having trouble, based on your description.  I don't think I've personally ever seen anything like that.  What I meant by "protruding scales" can also be described as a "pinecone effect"...if you look at your fish from the top, does he look like a pinecone? Doesn't sound like it, from your explanations, but just wanted to clarify. I would suggest you step up the water changes in that 1 gal. bowl...personally, I'd suggest doing a 50% change 2 times per week, optimally.  If you can't do that, at the very minimum do a weekly change.  Keep his water clean and hopefully his "sore" won't get infected. As I said earlier, if he's eating, swimming, pooping, etc. normally, I think everything is OK.  Perhaps this is yet another manifestation of the tumor-phenomenon I've seen in older Bettas...sadly, there isn't much you can do when that happens.  I'd like to do some research to figure out exactly what is causing this in captive-bred and raised Bettas - maybe some genetic deficiency resulting from overbreeding? Who knows...when I get some spare time, I plan to investigate! Good luck to you and your fish, Jorie

Bloated Crowntail My Crown Tail is 'Bluebell'.  He's a very happy little guy but appears to be bloated.  What causes bloating? <<Hello. A few things can cause bloating. Generally it's caused by constipation, followed by intestinal blockage and infection. Sometimes in conjunction with bad water quality. It can also be caused by internal worms or other parasites.>> He has no signs of disease, his appetite is good (TetraMin Tropical Granules - The Rich Mix as recommended). I use Stress Coat (10 drops per gallon) and bottled 'drinking water' as recommended by the pet store.  The bloating bothers me though even though he seems fine.  He is not as active as I would like to see him and  but tends to rest more on his plants.  Is he sick? *crying* :-(   <<You need to switch his food for a while, try frozen daphnia. It acts as a laxative and may help clear his blockage. You also need to make sure you are doing regular partial water changes, and clean water will help him heal faster. If the daphnia doesn't help, you may need to go to your local fish store and buy some medicated flakes for internal infections. Ask them to help you.>> Also, what is the best depth of a tank for a Betta?  He lives in a nice sized bowl right now but would like to get him a filtered 10gln hex tank if that would be ok for him. Thanks, worried 'mom'. <<A 10g is a nice size, just be sure to put some plants in it for him. Real or fake, floating or not, doesn't matter. That will give him places to hide when he wants to. Bettas are more content in areas where they feel secure, large open spaces will be avoided. If I were you, I would add a good quality heater to help keep the tank temp stable. Keep the temp around 75 or 78F. You can go as high as 80F, as long as the temp is always the same in the tank and when you do water changes. Yes, Bettas can live at room temp, but they do prefer it warmer, especially in the winter when room temperatures can drop to 68F. Brrr. -Gwen>>

Able and Cain, Romulus and Remus, now Sirius and Severus To whom it may concern, <Concerns us all, but Don here today> My Betta, Sirius, lost his brother, Severus, yesterday. I have no idea what killed Severus. <If they were in the same tank then Sirius killed Severus> Today when I came home from school Sirius was floating on the bottom of the tank on his side. <"The tank", so there is only one tank here?> I thought he was dead since that was the exact position Severus was in when I found him. It took me a while to finally get him moving. However he is not acting normal. Usually he is very hyper and swims a lot. However now he barely moves. He tries to get the surface but can't. He can't seem to lift the bottom part of his body (float) and he is using his fins a lot more then usual. What's wrong? Is there anything I can do? Please help me save my fish!! Brianna W. <It sounds like you had two male Bettas in the same tank. There is no way to do this. Even in a thousand gallon tank two male Bettas will hunt each other down and one will die. They are not being mean, it's just the nature of Bettas. To help save Sirius I would need more info. What size tank? Is it filtered and heated? How long has it been running? Do you change water? How often and what percent? If you have not done a water change in a while, do about 20 to 30% and see if that helps. Repeat daily for a week or so. Make sure you match the temp and use dechlorinator. Good luck>
Sirius and Severus
Thank you for your reply. Sadly Sirius pasted away. Sirius and Severus were in the same tank but there was a divider. The tank wasn't huge. I don't know the gallon size but about two hands across. It wasn't filtered or heated but I changed the water about once a week. Thank you for you concern! <Sorry to hear. Please don't give up. All you need is a small heater and air pump plus a sponge filter. Around $20 and you're golden. Set it all up and put a small, raw shrimp in the tank. Let it go for a 5 or 6 weeks and the filter is all dirty. Then just add a single Betta. If the divider was clear, they may have stressed out trying to kill one another. Or it may have been water conditions. Temp was a factor. Bettas are tropical fish and a steady temp in the high 70's. Don> Brianna

Betta with Mouth Fungus Hi, My female Betta w/ the horrible mouth fungus seems to have taken a turn for the worse.  I would like your opinion about what I should do. I moved her into a 10 med tank. I treated it with Melafix and PimaFix. She is in a fry enclosure, so she is close to the top of the tank. Her breathing is very labored. <I hear this a lot where Melafix is used. some fish seem to react poorly to it. You may want to do a partial water change> She lies at the bottom of the fry enclosure, and occasionally comes up for air. My opinion question to you is: Is she suffering? <Sure> Should I put the poor thing out of her misery, or should I keep trying for a few more days? <Is she eating? IMO as long as she's trying to eat, I'd give her every chance to live> Her mouth seems to look a little bit better than before I treated her. Will she get better, or is she suffering needlessly? <Impossible question for me to answer. I would try one of the meds I suggested before putting her down. If she lives then her suffering was not needless. But if it gets to where she can not eat, then it's time to make the hard call> Thanks, Marilyn <Don>

White patch on Betta I have had Harold for about 6 mo.s, he is a happy, very active crown tail Betta. He started out in a 1/2 G tank where I did 100% water changes and he recently moved into a 5G; there he gets 20% water changes. He gets a variety of food: flakes, freeze dried blood worms, Betta bites, and sometimes, freshly hatched brine shrimp. Since I moved him into the 5 I have been monitoring his behavior more closely, and the transition, about a month ago, seems to have gone fine. He, unfortunately, is developing some white areas near his gills. I read about all of the diseases at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm but none of them seem to really fit and a few kinda fit (Lymphocystis, Saprolegnia, Achyla, Ichthyophthirius multifilius, or Oodinium ocellatum). I don't think its Ich because the spots seem too big. (He has 2 spots; one is white, one is a little more grey). He's acting well; I don't notice his breathing to be labored, and he's still active and has a healthy appetite. He's not pale, and I couldn't find anything in the FAQ's that sounded similar. I'm worried! I'm going to the pet store tomorrow to get his water tested. Is there anything else I can do? I'm afraid, after reading some of the FAQ's, to purchase any medicine because I don't want to do any damage by mistreating his ailments.  I might be overreacting, because he seems perfectly healthy in all other respects, but if its a dangerous parasite I want to catch it right away.  Any suggestions? <Lets see what info the water test gives us. Since the tank has been up for only a month you may have a little ammonia or nitrite in the water. Even high nitrates can cause this. Please get the actual numbers from the LPS. Do not except "Everything is fine". Better yet would be to pick up a master kit so you could test yourself. I could also be a fungus. Treatment is the same in either case. Water changes and a little salt in case it is a fungus. About 2 tbls in a 5 gallon. BTW, does he have a heater? Bettas do much better when kept at a steady temp in the high 70's. Don>   

Betta Infection Hi! I have a 26 gallon community tank w/ 10 or so female Bettas. Several weeks ago, I noticed one of my females lower lips to look kind of white and fuzzy. I took her out and treated her w/ both Maracyn and Maracin2. It seemed to get a little better, so after the 5 day treatment, I put her back into the community tank. <always wait at least two weeks after the fish is clear before placing it back in the main> I was looking at all of the fish tonight, and saw that the girl w/ the lip now had virtually no bottom lip, and it looked as if the disintegration has moved down to her "chin area" almost down to her gill. She keeps moving, so I can't see if it's an open hole or not. I treated the tank w/ Melafix. What else can I do?  Do you have any idea what it can be? Should I take her out of the tank and put her by herself? She sometimes lies on the bottom, but comes up to feed with the whole gang in the morning. I feel soo sorry for her! I really hope you can help! I've had fish for over 10 years, but haven't seen anything like this! <The white growth was a fungus. Usually pristine water and a little salt will clear it. If the white growth is gone now, but the jaw is still decaying, it may have gone bacterial. If all the other fish seem OK, then I would remove her and treat alone. Try Nitrofurazone (Furan 2) or Oxytetracycline. Don> Thank you! Marilyn

Puffer wins the battle, loses the war... Betta loses overall I need some help. <Will try> I just got my 2nd Betta fish. I also got a 10 gallon tank and some small fish. I was told I could put a Betta in the tank and they should be fine. Well I didn't know that I had a little puffer fish that was a semi aggressive fish in there. I think he (not sure who did it) destroyed my Betta's tail. <Almost 100% sure> The puffer died and not sure if that is why but a little glad he did if it was him cause that was not nice. <It wasn't nice or mean, just the nature of a puffer> Now the Betta is all sad and hides all day and I have not seen him much. Don't know if I should take him out cause the mean fish is dead. I don't believe it will grow back right? <Sure, he can regrow his fins> I don't know what to do or if he is going to die or what. <No promises, but if the only thing damaged is the fins he has a good chance of living. Add about 2 tablespoons of aquarium salt to the 10 gallon to stop any infection from getting a foot hold. Keep his water clean by changing about 2 or 3 gallons of water a week> When the lights are on it doesn't seem like anyone is bothering him. <Good> But at night when the light is out I am not sure. <Unless you have a catfish, they all sleep at night> I really do think it was the puffer because no one bothered with him. What should I do. Will he die? Is he depressed. <Maybe a little hurt, not depressed> Can I help him. I feel so bad. He can swim but try's to dig his head in the rocks to hide. Please tell me what to do. Thanks Kerry <Hi Kerry, Don here. If you keep your Betta's water very clean and fresh and add the salt he has a good chance of living. BTW, your pufferfish was not being mean. He was being a pufferfish. I don't want to make you feel bad, but the meanest thing that happened was putting the Betta in with him. Please research any animal you may want before you buy it. When we take any animal into our care we become responsible for their health and well being. Nothing we can do now except learn from this. Pufferfish are very smart, and aggressive, fish with a really great personality. They make great pets. But it is their nature to nip at long fins on slow swimming fish like your Betta.>   

Betta Scale Loss - 10/26/2004 Hi.   Yesterday I noticed that it looks like my Betta lost some scales above his fin.  It's pink.  I'm really worried about my Betta. Haley <Hi, Haley; we really need more information to be able to help you out with your Betta.  How long have you had him?  Do you know how he lost the scales (like, was it an injury, or did it just mysteriously happen, or what)?  Do you notice anything else abnormal about him, including strange behaviour or appearance?  What kind of a tank is he in, is it a bowl or an actual aquarium?  Any other fish?  Do you test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?  If so, what are the readings?  If not, you might consider doing a large water change (be sure to match the temperature of the new water to the temperature of the water the Betta's currently in) and get your water tested at a local fish store.  Hope to hear back from you soon,  -Sabrina>

Betta Fins Hi, I am the keeper of my daughter's beta fish. She left him when she went back to college. I have been away for 3 weeks and my pet sitter has been looking after him. I have two problems with him. We feed him once a day - 3 to 4 beta fish food pellets and wait for him to eat each one before we feed him the next (in order to minimize food sitting around in his tank.)<Very good> He is alone in a 10 gallon tank and we put in plastic plants and gravel. <Very roomy> Normally I do a 25% water change every two weeks, clean the plants, the filters, change the charcoal filter, etc.  I did that as soon as we returned. I use filtered water, ensure its at room temperature before I introduce it, etc. <Do you have a heater? Bettas are tropical fish and will not thrive at normal room temperatures. Keep them in the high 70's.> He was doing fine before we left, although his fins were starting to split. When we came back I have found that he has not eaten for two days - he did on a couple of occasions take food but then spit it out. His fins look as though they have been ravaged.  He's very lethargic and seems to want to hide behind one of the plants. Please could you tell me if you think this is ammonia poisoning that is causing the issues <May have started as a water quality issue. You would need to test the water. Most pet stores can do this for you, but a test kit if preferred. If you have the store do the test, get numbers. Do not accept "Everything's fine" as an answer. Post numbers here> and if so, what the heck I can do about it. <Water changes until tank is cycled> I feel really sorry for him as we have become quite attached to the little fellow. <Understood> I'd really appreciate any insight or help that you can provide. Thanks Janice <Hi Janice, Don here. Usually I recommend water changes and salt for most fin problems. Most of the time lightly salted pristine water is all the fish needs to recover. In your case the fish has been in decline for a few weeks and sounds pretty bad. He may need some help to recover. First, we need to get the temp right and test that water. I suggest a trip to the local fish/pet shop. Pick up a heater and a master test kit. You need to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Some kits do not include the nitrate test. Purchase separately. Pick up a med for fin/tail rot. Kanacyn is good if the have it in stock. Get the temp up to 76 to 78, not over 80. Test the water. If you see any ammonia or nitrite or if nitrate is over 20ppm, do a large water change (50%) before adding meds. Test daily as some meds will destroy the bacteria needed to keep your water from fouling. Do water changes if you see any spikes, replacing the med in the new water. Adding some aquarium salt will help prevent fungus from attacking the fins before they have time to heal. Two or three tbls spoons will do if you do not see any cottony growth. If you do, increase slowly to eight to ten. If he shows signs of stress, do a small water change without salt to lower it. Don't forget to dechlorinate your water first. Good luck. Don>
Betta Fins
Hi Don. Thanks for your very fast response. We went out and bought a heater, test kit and aquarium salt. The only thing we couldn't get was Kanacyn. Should we try something else? <Many good meds for tail rot. Furan will work.> The test results are as follows:  PH 7.2. Ammonia 0 -0.25 (it was difficult to determine which.  Nitrite 0.  Nitrate 10ppm. High Water Range 7.8. <Two tests for pH. High and low range. One should be off the chart, the other a "readable" reading. The second is the correct pH> I treated with 1 Tbs aquarium salt (by reading the instructions on the box - we have a 6 gallon tank.)<Thought it was a 10?> Rereading your note, it looks as though I should up the aquarium salt to a higher level. Should I? <Yes, for treatments you can go as high as one tbls per gallon. Add it slowly, over a day or so. As the fish heals reduce the salt by doing water changes.> The thing we did find was that the temp was around 64! Poor thing, I'm surprised he wasn't covered in icicles! The heater is warming up the tank and it is currently at around 72. Before I got your reply, I put about 80% of water from his big tank and added new water, treatment and used filtered water to his old small bowl. Within about an hour he was a little more chirpy and was defending his territory when I came too close (much more like his old self). I tested the water temp in his small bowl and its at 72. <I would put him back in the larger tank if the temps are still the same. If not, put him and his current water in a plastic bag and float it in the tank. Twenty minutes or so should do it. Do not clean your filter. Watch for ammonia or nitrite spikes. Do a water change if you see either, or when nitrates climb to 20ppm or so. Replace salt in new water. If he continues to regain his strength with fresh water and salt alone, hold off on meds. Watch the fins. If they start to regrow, your golden.> My last question.  I had plastic plants in his tank - which I have since removed as it seems that this could be causing the initial tears on his tail and fins? <Unlikely> We bought some real plants, should we add them? <Sure. You will need a light in the hood> I really want to tell you how much I appreciate your help and guidance.  I know cats but I don't know fish and having you help me out may be the saving grace for Smooch. <Made me look twice. I have a parrot named Skooch> OK I didn't give him that name, my daughter did! <I'm the guilty party here. Don> Thanks Janice   

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