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FAQs on Betta Diseases 5

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FAQs on Betta Medicines
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Betta death-trap

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Red Betta Blues My blue Betta fish, Nikki, was in a tank with an African dwarf frog for about a month. They were in a larger tank at home, but were moved into a smaller one when I got to school. This is when the problems started. The Betta began attacking the frog on a daily basis and in turn the frog would claw at it back, they were doing fine in the large tank.  One day, I returned from class and found a huge portion of my Betta's tail missing, I'm not sure if the frog did it or if this was fin rot. Needless to say, I moved the frog out of my fish's tank and into it's own before they did anymore damage to each other. Since, my Betta's tail has been looking pathetic and he has black spots and black lines that look like scratches on them. I'm not sure if that is his natural coloring (the black spots) seeing I've only had them for around a month maybe a month and half, and this happened almost a week and a half ago. I purchased medication that said it was for fin rot from an online store and I'm waiting for it to get here (triple sulfa-aquarium pharmaceuticals). I'm not sure if this is too strong or just right, I figured I'd get one that was supposed to be powerful b/c he lost his tail pretty rapidly. Fish #2, my crown-tail, Gremlin, has looked awfully constipated lately or bloated. He doesn't have raise scales however, and is swimming actively as per usual. I think I may have just been overfeeding him the past couple of days and her stomach poofed, I'm going to feed him a lot less or give him a day without feeding to see if it goes down. It actually has already gone down a teeny bit since I last fed him (when I noticed the bloat). Hopefully, this is not serious. I don't think it is seeing his water is clear etc and he's been as active as usual. Thank you for your time, I really hope you can help me especially with the Betta/ frog incident.  -Ali <The fish may be blurry, but your name and address are crystal clear through the tank in one. Be careful when sending anything over the net! Your blue Betta does not look bad at all. I see a white line on the torn edge. This could be new tissue growing back. Keep an eye on that edge. If the white starts to move further into the fin then you may need to treat. But if it is growing then I think he will be fine. Keep his water pristine clean and add about a tsp on salt per gallon. The spots and marks may just be bruises from the frog fight. I would not medicate this fish unless he looses more fin or tail. It's your red Betta does not look good to me. It may be constipated, but the bloat seems a little too far forward. You can try feeding a shelled pea. But not all Bettas will take them. A few live or frozen bloodworms may also help. Try to stay away from flake and pellets for a few days. If the bloat goes down then no further treatment is needed. But you may want to consider some soft treat foods to add variety to his diet. Even a few swatted fruit flies. If the bloat does not go down you may need to feed him some medicated flake for bacterial infections. It's always best to first try fresh, clean water and a good varied diet with some natural foods mix in. A fish kept like this can fight off most problems without being stresses by harsh chemicals. Don>

Betta with Fin Rot Hi again. I sent an e-mail a week ago with pictures but for some reason hasn't gotten through. My Betta fish Flash has had fin rot for a long time now. We got him at Christmas and he is currently in a 5 gallon tank with sponge filter and heater at 78-80 degrees. I use tap water with Betta water remedy in it to dechlorinate and have been adding a teaspoon of aquarium salt per gallon.  I have tried Betta fix remedy for his fin rot with no luck. I've followed a course of Tri-sulfa with no luck. I've tried tetracycline with no luck. I finally found Spectrogram that you recommended and placed him in his old tank to treat for about six days. It seemed to be working. Definitely no more tears and it may have even looked a little better, but was hard to tell. Then I put him back in his new tank. He looked good for about two days and this morning, there are more tears!! His water has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and about 10-15 nitrates. pH is a little high at 7.6 . I don't know why because the water I put in is about 7.2. I bought a piece of driftwood but haven't put it in yet. I bought him a new live plant, Anacharis I believe. He really likes it but it isn't doing well in there either. Leaves are turning brown and dying. What am I doing wrong? Does fin rot ever get beyond the point of help? I don't want him to die but have no idea what else to do. I feel like I shouldn't have to be spending this much time everyday on one little Betta fish and he still isn't healthy. Please help.  I'm soooo frustrated. This is my first fish and will probably be my last if this keeps up.  <Hi Kim, Jorie here. Fin rot is nine times out of ten caused by poor environmental conditions. How often do you do water changes? I'd suggest you start doing them daily perhaps (maybe 50% in your 5 gal. tank), being sure of course to match the old and new water parameters as closely as possible. Test your ammonia, nitrite and nitrates once or twice per day until you get this under control. Right now, it's great that you don't have any ammonia or nitrites, but you need to get those nitrates out as well. I suspect that perhaps toxins are building up and you simply need to step up your water changes. See how this goes for a week or so before adding any new medications or doing anything else different to the tank. My hunch is that once you improve the water conditions, the problem will clear itself right up. Good luck.>

Karzy - sick Betta Hello, <Hi there> I have a 11 month old male Betta fish who's name is Karzy. About 2 months ago, my partner and I introduced another male (Nitro) and two female (Storm & Rogue). Since this has happen, Karzy, became sick a week after we got the others. He had while spots on his body. We treated him for that but it must of been a bad case, as his fins are all  shredded now. <The males aren't together I hope... the shredded fins otherwise are likely due to the medication itself> Now the new problem, last night, we notice a rather large lump on the bottom of him in between his fins. What is wrong with him and how can we treat him?? I have looked into websites, but there not much on lumps. I'm hoping that you guys can help me. <Nothing you can do directly for the bumps. Bob Fenner> 

Male Betta changing colour Hi, <Hello> I purchased a male Betta 2 weeks ago to put in a new 20 gallon community tank. He was the first fish in the tank and is very friendly towards his tank mates (neon tetras, bleeding heart tetra, gold dust mollies, green platies, Bala shark). If I had to reach into the tank he would swim around my fingers and arm while the others would hide amongst the plants and rocks. I noticed yesterday that his colour had changed from solid blue to having streaks of red in his fins. Today, approximately 50% of his body had turned a yellow and red. Is this normal or a concern? The tank is at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Thanks, Chris <I suspect this is a natural color change... Red is a "dominant" color in Bettas... He sounds healthy and judging by the health of your other fishes... nothing likely wrong here. Bob Fenner>

My Betta, care Hello, <Hi there> I was wondering if you could please help me! I had a Betta for about a month and a half in a 6 gallon filtered tank with some cloud tailed minnows, a bottom feeder, a snail, and an African aquatic dwarf frog. They were all alright until one day I noticed a bit of white stuff on the tip of the Betta's mouth. I looked again the next morning and the white stuff had grown to cover the Bettas almost entire head, covering his eyes. He was acting sick at this point, staying at the top of the tank in one spot and not eating. I went to the pet store and told them, and they told me to add Betta Fix to the tank and some aquarium salt (approx a tablespoon). <Good advice, choices... This tank is heated I take it/hope> Unfortunately the Betta died that night. I now have gotten a new Betta and I want to prevent him from getting this disease. The pet store said the treatment didn't work perhaps because I caught it too late. <Very likely so> I have been changing the water regularly and adding the recommended amount of aquarium salt. I have gotten the water tested through the life time of the tank and it has always been good. I've had a few of the minnows die over the 2 months, but all the other fish (except the first Betta) have been alright. I feed the Betta dried blood worms. Please help me, so the new Betta doesn't die the same way!  Thanks for all your help. - Kira <I would expand your Betta's diet to include "Betta" pelleted food/s... otherwise, if you have a heater... all should be fine. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Male Betta Fish, Didn't Make It I just wanted to tell you thanks for your quick reply although we lost the fish last night it gives me more insight on Betta Fishes I had no idea of all the thing I needed to do or look for in a fish.  So again Thank You. <Thank you my friend. Am hopeful with the rapid availability of information, communication (the Net) we will all have better lives. Bob Fenner> 

Re: My Betta Thanks so much for your advice. Yes I do have a Tronic heater (it is set at 78-80F) and it is a filtered 3 gallon tank. <Ah, good> I also bought some Betta flakes. Will these be good? <Mmm, is your fish eating them?> What do you think the disease my last Betta had was? Is it contagious now that I have put in aquarium salt and Betta Fix? <Don't know. Bob Fenner> 

Cycle Complete? Hi Crew, I have been cycling my 5g since Jan. 16 with 2 Betta's, a separator between them and a sponge filter with a heater. For the past two weeks my ammonia has not moved from .25, but my nitrites has fallen from 2 to 1 and is now at zero, and my nitrate is approx. 5 to 10. Is my system still cycling? <Looks like you are cycled, but that trace of ammonia is troublesome. Check your source water.> Is the ammonia holding at .25 after the nitrite fell to zero normal? <Not normal, you may be adding it from your tap. Check the water 24 hours after a water change. Should be zero.> Should I be doing something beside 25% water changes twice a week to get the ammonia to zero without using chemicals? <Nope. But I would not lock myself in to two 25% WCs a week. While cycling you do what it takes to keep at zero and no more. After you are cycled, enough to keep nitrates below 20ppm.> I have read the term "an Epsom bath" used on your site. What is an Epsom bath and how long can a fish stay in the water treated with Epsom salt? <A type of salt used to reduce swelling in humans. It is added to the tank for bloat, constipation and Popeye. Used on a "when needed" bases. You do not mention any reason to need it, so I wouldn't use it> Can I substitute it for aquarium salt? <No.> Is it better for the fish than aquarium salt in preventing illness in the fishes? <Not better, just different. Used for different reasons> I have a male Veil Tail Betta his body is about 3.5 inches long. His tail and bottom fins are about the same length. How can you tell if his fins are getting too long, and will he benefit from having a trim? <No. Never give a Betta a trim. The size of his fins are set by his genetics.> Thanks, Mario D.  <You're welcome. Don>

Under the Rainbow Bridge, Betta health Hi Mike,  <Don here tonight>  I just wanted to let you know that my little Betta fish gave up his brave fight over the weekend. He actually seemed to rally a bit Saturday morning - he was more active and swam around in his bowl, and seemed livelier (but I know from experience with my human family that that often is the body's last boost before the end). Then he settled down a bit and I went out of the room for a few minutes... when I came back, he was gone. I am glad he didn't suffer any longer and that he seemed to enjoy a little bit of feeling better before he swam under the Rainbow Bridge. Rest in peace, Finster, my little Fishy-Guy! <Very sorry to hear. The loss of any pet can be hard> I want to thank you for your help and for being there for me through this illness. I had been in contact with a lot of fish hobbyists and even an aquatic vet, and the fact is, there really wasn't much anyone could do about this disease, especially at its advanced stage. Aquatic medicine is in the early days but I expect that it will evolve much the way avian medicine did 30 years ago. I also have birds and 30 years ago, it was next to impossible to find a bird vet. Now more vets go into that specialty and avian medicine has improved tremendously. I predict the same thing will happen for fish. <Agreed! I'm also a long time bird person. The advances in the last decade have been stunning. When I found my bird vet she was one of only twelve Board Certified Avian Vets in the country. Now we have hundreds. We need thousands.>  Anyway, if anyone would like information for fish doctors in the Philadelphia/New Jersey general area, please feel free to contact me - Dr. Greg Lewbart, one of the most prominent aquatic vets in the US, gave me several names for future reference. Please pass on my e-mail and I will be happy to help out anyone with this information. Thanks again, Mike - I am grateful for your sympathy and advice. Arlene <Thank you for sharing. Normally we would not post your email, but with your permission I hope we can make an exception. Don>

Bettas are NOT Puffers Hi my name is Lauren and I've been an owner of a Betta for about 8 months now. <Hi Lauren, this is Jorie.> Unfortunately, my Betta has become swollen in the face and neck area and his eyes are very large with a clear glassy look around it. I'm really not sure what to do. I was told to change the water again and put some Epsom salt in there. <First off, it would help if I knew a little more about the Betta's tank setup. How big is the tank, is there any filtration, how often do you change the water, what temperature is the tank at, for starters? Bettas don't need a huge space to live in, but I like to recommend a tank no smaller than 2 gal., so that you can fit a small (25watt) heater in there...ideal Betta temperature is between 80 and 82 degrees F. When they are too cold, Betta's become more likely to succumb to disease. Also, I should ask if he's living alone...I assume "yes", but just wanted to check.> Do you know what kind of disease this is and will he die. Please help me. Thank you <It's hard for me to tell you exactly what's wrong with your Betta, but it could be Popeye and/or bacterial infection - Epsom salt as a treatment is good for both. Most importantly, keep his water clean - have you recently tested for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? Check out this great article by Bob Fenner: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm - there are at least a few tips in there that should help you also. Hopefully the information I've given you can help you isolate your problem...in reality, most Betta "diseases" are caused by poor environmental conditions, so take care to improve his health by reading up on his needs and, most importantly, keeping his water pristine. Good luck, Jorie>

My Betta's In Trouble My names Erin I'm 16 and I'm having some trouble with my Betta, Skitz. <Hi Erin, this is Jorie - I'll do my best to help you and Skitz.> Skitz has a 1.5 gallon tank all to himself. In it there is a source of oxygen with a grindstone, some non toxic rocks , and 2 coral plastic plants. <Sounds like a good setup> I live in La Gaspesie, Quebec, so due to the cold temperatures I have provided him an aquarium lamp. <Good deal, since Betta's like pretty warm water...ideal temp. for these guys is between 80 and 82 degrees F. Do you have a thermometer in this tank? You definitely want to make sure there aren't large temperature fluctuations...you can pick one up for fairly little money at any local fish store if you don't have one. It is essential, in my opinion.> Up until now my Betta has been a happy camper, yes... I have overfed him a bit, but have cutback. <Good to hear. Most of us are guilty of the same thing...want to make our "pets" happy, so we feed them! Just keep in mind the Betta's stomach is only about the size of his eye...he should be eating all the food you put in within 3-5 minutes, so if that isn't the case, then you are giving him too much.> He gets fed 2 times a day now. I feed him TetraMin flakes and granules alone or combined. <Maybe consider adding some frozen/thawed bloodworms or Mysid shrimp to this mix, once or twice per week...Betta's are meat-eaters and I can tell you both of mine *love* both the worms and the shrimp!> Lately Skitz has been sticking to the bottom of the tank, or floating at the surface. He's not lively anymore. <Any idea how old he is? (How long have you had him?)> His normally bright blue scales have turned a pale grayish pink, he hardly eats, and his left gill seems to be inflamed. Since there is no filtration system I clean the tank 2-3 times a week. I use Clorox to clean the tank, plastic plants and fishnet. Then I rinse and rinse and rinse using boiling hot water, followed by cold. I boil the rocks, then rinse them in cold. I do a 100% water change and try to keep the fish always in the same temperatures. I always add a pinch of TetraAqua Water Conditioner. Lately I've added a tiny bit of salt to my tank, but he's still not up to par. I'm scared to wake up and find my fish belly up. What can I do? <I definitely applaud your wanting to keep Skitz's water clean, but I'm afraid maybe you are overdoing it somewhat. Couple of things that come to mind: do you have a test kit to ensure that no ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are present? By doing these frequent 100% water changes, you aren't allowing any of the beneficial bacteria colonies to establish and, thus, the tank is likely cycling over and over again. That means, likely, that you will find levels of ammonia, nitrite and/or nitrate, all of which are toxic to fish. I'd suggest you start doing 75% water changes at a time, leaving a bit of the old water, but removing the harmful toxins. Maybe once every other week you can remove one decoration and soak it in a mild bleach solution as you have been doing, but I wouldn't recommend doing everything at the same time. I certainly don't want to suggest you start neglecting the tank, but in reality, I think you may be over-cleaning his water! Give this a try for a bit and see if things don't improve for your friend...Jorie>

Re: New Home for George the Betta, actually disease Hi once again Bob. First let me thank you for your advice and how fast you respond to problems! I really do appreciate it. <Welcome> Unfortunately, George has developed the bloat again, along with the Popeye... with no time to waste, I immediately removed the carbon filter cartridge and added the Maracyn and Maracyn II that cured him before. I am so upset as I appeared to have beaten the tank cycling with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 5.0 nitrate. Now, I am looking at starting that all over again, this is so frustrating... that is if George pulls through the second time. In your opinion, why did this happen? Is there anything I am doing  wrong or could this problem be something that lies dormant until he is stressed? <Mostly the latter... I might switch to "BettaMax" as a treatment if the Mardel Products don't effect a cure> His temperature holds around 80 - 81. George eats a varied diet of Hikari Bio Gold pellets (2 pellets 2 times per day) or sometimes I switch a pellet with a very small, amount (to mean nothing that is left floating around) of Hikari freeze dried brine shrimp or daphnia...he hates blood worms.. won't touch them. Should I be using the Epsom salt again? <Yes, I would> I am not sure how to use it this time, as he did not have a "heated" home the first time and I could transfer him into a salt bath and then place him back into his medicated bowl. With the 3 gallon tank I am just not sure and I don't want to stress him further with erratic water temps (switching him out of the tank to an unheated bowl). <Just mix about a third of a teaspoon of the Epsom Salt in some of the water... and put in the tank> Is the treatment with the Maracyn and Maracyn II correct in your opinion? Sorry for the questions but I have come so far... <I would switch to the Aquatronics product if you can get it quickly> Once again, thank you for listening and for any advice that you provide. Sue <Glad to proffer my input. Bob Fenner> 
Re: New Home for George - Continued
Hi Bob, <Sue> I needed to add this...another "STRANGE" thing...after the first overnight treatment of Maracyn I & II...George is up in his corner building a bubble nest, he is still bloated his eyes look somewhat better but he is still building. Is this not odd behavior if he were truly sick?  <Happens> Help me know what to do at this point, please, I am afraid I am doing this all wrong and I have now destroyed the tank by adding the treatment.  Thank you again, Sue <Often when animals, plants... seem to be "about to die", they default to reproductive behavior. Bob Fenner>

"Free" Betta Greeting and thank you. I am sorry to bother you but I have read and read and read some more and I just can't tell if I am helping or hurting the newest addition to my family. Please forgive and bear with me but I am very new at keeping fish.   Here is background on the situation: My boss walked in with a tiny Betta vase about 5 weeks ago as a gift for me to take home. The first thing I did after scolding him and asking him if he kept his kids in a closet was go out and buy a 2.5 gallon tank w/ a filter and a live plant bulb (since the reed in the vase looked like it was rotting).  Week 1: The bulb didn't sprout but I read it may take up to 2 weeks so I didn't worry about it. The fish is alert but his fins are getting weak/droopy/listless, and he's turned from salmon color to two (2) different shades of blue. His tail a "shimmery" teal and his body a sapphire color while his head remained that salmon color. I probably initially overfed him (freeze dried blood worms) but have since reformed his diet with around 4 pellets twice a day (he eats them all and begs for more) and a couple blood worms every other night. Week 2: I'm in Texas but it's late January and the temperature is fluctuating and the fish sprouts a whitish fuzz under his chin. I asked my dog's vet for suggestions and he had me treat the water with Fungus Clear (by Jungle Fungus I believe). I took out the carbon in the filter and added the appropriate dosage to the tank. The next morning my poor fish is gasping, panting and glaring at me. Obviously something was not going well, so between that and the temperature fluctuations, I went to change his water and move him into a five gallon tank so I could keep a small heater in there for him as well (since I've by that time had some time to read up on the species and learn more about their environment). When I changed the tank, I found not only had the bulb not sprouted but it had rotted and the floor/gravel of the tank is coated with this filmy slime that dissolves upon touch.  Week 3: No change in alertness or appetite, Water quality is good but pH is high (approx 8.0) and I was afraid to try too much to change it thinking the fish was already stressed and sick. I am using a stress conditioner and the appropriate amount of aquarium salt during set up and let the tank run a couple days before I moved him over. I'm trying to read up on symptoms but I just really can't tell anything for sure by this point -- I'm as stressed as the fish by now. The white patch hasn't spread but despite getting all new decorations, filter etc, I'm getting some of the papery-looking slime and the Betta now has brown patches up near his head along with white rings around his eyes and white outlining his still limp fins. Also those two long fins in the front has turned bleach white.  Ok....he went from salmon to blue and then got white under his chin and brown on his head. I don't know if this is a natural color change or something wrong with him so I make sure his water stays clean and within accepted parameters, that he is not overfed, put in a less stressful filter where I could control the water flow and have the temperature of the tank staying high 70s - low 80s and I watch to see if something, anything else develops. Week 4: He is still pretty much alert and eating well, but his head has darkened and those brown patches are bright red. If they are sores, there are flush against the skin but look like they may be deepening. Two days later, his head looks almost flushed so I go talk to a guy that says he's a fish expert at a specialized aquarium store in town and he gives me MelaFix to use. I treated the fish with it for the full 7 days and on the 7th day, after absolutely no change to the fish, my tank does this iceberg impression and starts to crack up the side. I now have a very slow leak and you can hear the acrylic straining under the pressure. I want to cry by this point but instead go talk to more people. I have it explained to me even small heaters and acrylic do not mix well so here goes my Betta into his very own 10 gallon tank (I set the tank up fresh and let it run for a full day before more groaning from the titanic (as I now affectionately refer to my sinking 5 gal. tank) forces me to move the poor fish yet again.) Water is almost exactly the same but I did manage to mix my water this time to get the ph a little lower. Ammonia & Nitrates etc are all in optimum and ph is now between 7.6-7.8. This $2 fish has now cost me upwards of $100.00 but you come to love the little guys and he's in my care and so I will do anything I can for him.  Week 5: Fish is a little more listless but still eating and has now developed what looks like red streaks on his body and around the edges of his tail. I have read about diseases and this seems to point at a bacteria infection, but again, the deepening colors could be just a red tint since this fish has maintained a stable color for more than a week at a time since I've had him? My question: Should I treat him & tank with something for bacteria infections this time or should I wait and watch him longer? I really don't know what to do. I don't want to over treat him as that isn't good but I don't want to let him slowly die either. I am afraid to move him to take to show to someone since; 1) the poor thing is probably a bundle of nerves from all the moving he's been through so far, and; 2) sad to say, I am clueless when it comes to keeping fish.  I have always researched a pet before I've got one, even to the point of specific breeds and types but as this was a gift, I am learning as I go. I want him to be happy (and healthy!) and I am just lost to the point of frustration as to how to proceed next. Any suggestions or comments would be gladly welcomed. Thank you again. Caprice ~ <First I have to thank you for the time and money you have put into keeping your Betta. Too many people in this situation would have allowed him to die in the bowl. Very nice of you. Please do not medicate yet. Give him two or three days and then change about 20% of the water every day or two. Add about 3 tbls of aquarium salt to the 10 gallon tank. Make a brine using tank water and add it in over a day or two. When you do water changes mix a little less than a tbls of salt into the new water before adding it in. This will help with the skin problems you are seeing. Then read here on bio filtration. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm   You seem to be testing your water, please include all the actual results if you need to email back. Bettas do not produce a lot of waste and can handle conditions that would kill most others. That's why pet stores can get away with keeping them in those tiny bowls. But who knows how long he went without fresh water before you got him. The red areas may be from an ammonia burn. It could also be a skin infection caused by the poor water conditions of the bowl.  If he does not improve (or declines at all) in a few days of fresh, clean water then you will need to treat for bacterial hemorrhagic septicemia. Oxytetracycline is the drug of choice. Furan 2 is also effective. But either will kill the good bacteria with the bad so it is best to try the water changes and salt before treating. Make sure you read and understand the info in the link I gave you and how medicating relates negatively to getting your system cycled. Best to treat in a smaller QT tank and do a fishless cycle in the 10 while he heals. But if the ten is the only tank you can keep heated (80 to 82)then treat him there. But realize the cycling process described in the link will not start until the treatment is complete and the meds removed with a series of water changes. Good luck with him and thanks again for your concern. And IMO your Boss owes you at least $50! Don>

More on Bloated Betta Hi Mike ~ <Hello> Well, here's the latest with my poor little fish: he mostly is at the bottom of his bowl, just coming up to breathe. It looks like he makes a huge effort to get to the top and then almost falls back down. Sometimes he lands on his head, sometimes on his side. He more or less stays how he lands, until he bolts up to breathe. It's so pathetic. <That certainly does not sound good.> I bought some daphnia today, hoping it might help with his constipation, but he doesn't seem interested in the food. Meanwhile, you asked if I had stopped his meds (the Kanacyn and Melafix) - I have kept up with it so far. That's why I'm surprised he suddenly seemed to take a downward turn. I'm kind of sadly expecting anything at any time, but I'll keep trying to save him till the very end, so: 1) Should I still keep up with the meds, or would that just weaken him at this point? OR - might it still help? <It may still help, it may not. I will reiterate my recommendation for you to discontinue the Kanacyn - it is a much stronger (harsher) medicine than MelaFix. If your fish is not eating, that is of primary concern. Your fish needs energy to heal and to fight its infection!> 2) Epsom salt baths? <You could give a bath a try. Try a short one at fist - just in case it is too stressful for your fish.> 3) Is there anything else I could/should try? <Get him to eat, keep his water clean, etc. etc. Other than that, I really cannot think of anything you CAN do that would also cause undue stress.> I think I might keep him in slightly less water, just so he doesn't have to struggle so to get to the top. <A good idea. Remember, less water gets polluted quicker!> Hey, thanks for hanging in with me to help my little guy. <No problem. I really do hope he makes it. I'm crossing my fingers. Mike G.> 
More on the Bloated Betta Saga
Hiya Mike, <Hello again.> Well, keeping you updated with my little fish, he is still with us! <Great to hear!> I put him in a more shallow container, since he seemed to be using all his little fishy strength to hurl himself to the surface of his 1 gal. vase (even with half the water, it seemed an effort). The shallow bowl (a glass casserole bowl) is MUCH better for him. He doesn't go on his head and actually tries to swim around a tiny bit and it is far easier for him to go up to breathe. <Moving him to a smaller container was a good move, by all means. The stress of obtaining air is now considerably lessened, so it seems, so his body can focus more on healing.> With that big bloat weighing him down, I'm sure he isn't going to be jumping out. In observing my fish and re-reading some disease parameters, I think he has Ascites, which is a non-specific abdomen fluid build up. It now seems that it is more likely dropsy than constipation, because if you look down at him, you can see the bulge extending out from both sides. Like you had told me, dropsy is not a disease in itself but a secondary condition. It could be because he is older and when they age, a fish's organs start to fail, allowing for this fluid buildup. It is definitely fluid in that bloat. <You might want to try that Epsom salt bath. It can help to diffuse some of the fluids in his abdomen, if successful, and is certainly worth a try.> He didn't eat for the past 2 days, but I honestly think it was more because he didn't have the strength to swim around and feed. I thought I saw him gulp down some food after I put him in the shallow bowl, and he didn't look as pathetic to me, though he is still bloated. Oh, there is no pine-coning. <It is excellent that he is back to eating.> So.....how do you think I should proceed at this point? I am doing daily water changes and being careful about feeding, just in case there is also constipation present (after all, that bloat can't make him feel great to poop - he HAS to be sore, the poor thing.). Stopped all meds for the moment, but not sure what to do now. <I would try an Epsom salt bath. Remove him if he shows signs of distress immediately. Try and feed him a little extra - he needs the energy.> Mike, thanks for caring - I'll try to send a picture tomorrow, if you think that will help. <I think that would be wonderful. Could you get a side view, bottom view, and a top view for me?> 

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

My fighter is ill I have a blue fighter fish. He has a large growth under his jaw that has a kind of beard growing from it. I change the water reg[ularly] and feed him reg[ularly, look after him like a child almost. What is it?? I think it is a parasite, he has lost luster in colour and he does not feed. He also just lays on the bottom of the tank or sits in shadowy areas. Please help <Only you can save this fish... does sound like a "true" fungus growth... but due to what? Poor environment? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm re Betta systems and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm re their diseases and treatments... and the Related FAQs linked above both these articles. Bob Fenner>
Re: my fighter is ill (thanks)
HI I am sorry to say that even though I tried everything possible save 'Akira'  the poor little guy died. Very sad day in the Oz household! Thank you for your help and the suburb advice on the forum. You site is truly a fantastic source for help in keeping Betta.  Thank you again and best wishes. Take care Oz <Sorry to realize your loss. Bob Fenner>

Mr. Pfips - Sick Betta Hello Crew at Wet Web Media ... <Hi...Jorie here> I have read article after article and surfed the net ... trying to find some answers. Hopefully you can help. <Will try!> We have a Betta (Mr. Pfips) that we brought home on Valentine's Day. <Yay, I got my first Betta for Valentine's Day two years back! Got me started in this whole wonderful wet world...> Several days ago I noticed something black hanging out of his gills (or it seems to be out of his gills - it is hanging out below his mouth). He swims pretty erratically, bumping into the thermometer, plants, sides of fish bowl. Or he is quiet with fins clamped. Also noticed his colouring going grey around his gills and head. I shone a flashlight on him and there is a gold shimmer over his body. Velvet? But I am not sure if this is part of his "normal" colouring. <Well, from what you describe, it sure sounds like something is going on. Clamped fins are definitely the signs of an unhappy and/or sick Betta, and from what you describe as to the gold shimmer, it does indeed sound like velvet.> When we first brought him home he was in a small bowl with 72 degrees F. water. He seemed to be happy as he was eating and blowing bubble nests. But I noticed that his swimming was totally neurotic. <Possibly swim bladder disorder? Can you better describe the "erratic" swimming behavior? Does he float on the top of the water, struggle to get to the top for air, sit on the bottom, etc.? Then two weeks ago I transferred him to a 2 gallon bowl with a heater set at 74 degrees F. <In reality, you could bump the temp. up a little...ideal temp. for Bettas is between 80 and 82 degrees F. Don't just rely on the thermometer's readout, though - do invest in a small thermometer that you can suction-cup onto the side of the tank.> Put in a snail as well which totally aggravated him. <Yep, I used to try and keep shrimp with my Bettas...never went well. Actually, the Bettas were probably thrilled with the yummy snack I provided them!> A 1/4 teaspoon of Aquarium Salt as well. <From everything I've read, the jury's out on whether or not this is good for the Betta...some say "yes", others "no". I personally do not salt my Bettas' water.> Still eating well, blowing bubble nests, but totally neurotic swimming, grey colour appearing and black thing below mouth. <I'm wondering if you may just be seeing his un-flared gills? When you "exercise" your Betta (put a mirror up to the tank and watch him go...he'll flare like mad!>, can you tell if the "black thing" is part of what puffs up? I think I can picture what you are saying, and I think it is normal, just un-retracted, if you will, Betta gills. I hope this makes sense...kind of hard to put into words...> Yesterday I transferred him into a small Hospital bowl with no heater, no stones, no plants. Colouring seems to be getting greyer. This gave him a complete water change. Also added 1/4 teaspoon of Aquarium Salt and 6 drops of Maracide. Took the snail out as well. <The snail wouldn't appreciate the salt at all, and the Maracide would have killed him - good call. I would suggest putting a little something (maybe a PVC pipe) into the tank for your Betta to hide in, as he may get stressed out with absolutely nothing around. Aside from that, great call on the hospital tank. Keep up the treatment with Maracide according to the directions, and do keep up on the water changes (again, following the medication bottle's instructions). If you are dealing with velvet, this should clear things up. Keep his diet good (Bettas love bloodworms and Mysid shrimp), and consider even soaking this food in garlic oil (either from the grocery spice aisle, or Kent sells a version specifically for aquarium use) - some believe this to have curative-type properties. Certainly can't hurt. I think that things should improve for your friend shortly if you keep a close eye on him, which you are obviously doing!> Does any of this sound familiar. I'm not sure if he is diseased or not. Thanks for any input .... Doris & Ralf <You are welcome...do read up on freshwater diseases such as velvet and WWM and elsewhere (I like  http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/ also. Good luck, Jorie> 

Re: fin rot on my Betta Hi. Just a few more questions and hopefully I won't need you guys for a while. My new 5 gallon tank that I was cycling without my Betta (Flash) has finally cycled. I did a 30 % water change but the next day, ammonia was up slightly even though nitrites were 0 and nitrates were between 10 and 15. Is that normal? <Yes... sort of a mini re-cycle... with the addition of a new/higher ammonia source (Flash)> Should I wait before putting him in? <If ammonia is under 1.0 ppm I would not wait> Also, I have been treating him for fin rot. I did one round (5 days) with Tri-Sulfa and when that didn't work I just completed a round (5 Days) of Tetracycline. Still no improvement. It may actually be worse. Any ideas? <Yes... look into either Spectrogram or Nitrofurazone/Furacyn... these with the move will do the trick> I've been adding 1 tsp. per gallon of aquarium salt. I did have to do some small water changes while he was being medicated because he was in an uncycled tank and I needed to keep the nitrites low. <Yes> I wanted to make sure he is okay before moving him to the new tank so that I don't have to medicate in there and get rid of my hard work of cycling that tank. Please help. Kim L. <Sounds good. Bob Fenner> 

Question about Betta fins Hello, <Hi there> I have a question about my Betta's fins. They look shredded. When I brought him home with me in a different tank, they healed, but when I brought him back and into his bigger tank, his fins get shredded again. His behavior is very normal and he is very active. I change the water frequently and add aquarium salt to his water as well. I've changed the decorations from a coral decoration to two plastic plants and his fins are still shredded. He does like to fight with I'm guessing his reflection. Do you know what it could be? Thanks. LST <I don't know... you've covered about all the usual suspects... the decor (coral) affecting water quality, adding the salt... I take it that the fish is in a tropical (heated), filtered setting? Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm  It may be that your water quality is "that bad" either out of the tap... or is it just not cycled? Perhaps you have a Betta with genetic make-up that tends toward shredded fins... If it were me, my situation and I were curious, I'd try putting another individual in its setting... and see if the same thing happens to it... and then investigate your water quality more thoroughly... perhaps through analysis by a lab, college... There is "something" amiss here... like a geode, new copper plumbing... that is mal-affecting your fighter. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Question about Betta fins
I had a Betta in there before in the exact same settings and he didn't have the fin trouble. Actually, for the first Betta I didn't have the salt.  LST <Thank you for this... well, am back to my "guess" that this is some inherent trait (the tatty fins gene?) of this particular Betta. Bob Fenner> 

Betta trouble Hi, I have had a Siamese fighting fish for about two years. Recently I have noticed that he does not eat his food and his area all around his gills (or mid body) is extremely inflated and white... like it is stretching and flaking. I don't know whether to stop feeding him or to just keep changing his water. I just was wondering if it was curable or if he will die soon. Thanks-Worried Betta owner <Good description, but need a bunch more info.... and there's not time enough to go back and forth re relating all you likely need to relate or know. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm  Scroll down to the area about Bettas... Read re set-up, diseases... the articles and FAQs files... hopefully "something will click" with your situation, circumstances. Bob Fenner>

Sick Betta  Hello and let me thank you in advance for taking to time to read this one of many emails that I am sure you will get today.  Up until last week I owned two beautiful male Betta fish, Reino and Flicker. While cleaning out Reino's tank on Monday he took it upon himself to jump out into the sink. <Yikes!> The resulting injury was fatal.  <... RIP> Although Flicker (who is obviously kept in a different tank) suffered no physical injury from the incident it seems he now has problems of his own. I woke up Thursday morning to see him swimming rather violently up and down the tank while spinning in circles (much like a bullet). He spends most of his time laying on his side either wedged in his plants or on the bottom of the tank. I think that this is because he exhausts himself during his frantic uncoordinated (it seems almost as if he has NO control) swimming. For the last few days, whenever I check on him he appears to be dead. His breathing is very shallow and his color is fading. What can I do to remedy this situation and help my poor baby?  Thanks so much for your help.  <Does sound like some sort of poisoning... I take it you treat the new water, or better, store it for a week in advance of use... At this point I would add what you have to remove ammonia from the water, and a bit of salt (a pinch per pint). This should do the trick here. Please read over our Betta materials: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm Scroll down... particularly re set-up and disease articles and FAQs files. Bob Fenner>  

Bloated Betta Hi! <Hey, Mike G here> I found your site while desperately searching for help for my poor little Betta. I am attaching 4 pictures - none are very sharp, but you should be able to see the size of the bloated area right behind his gills. <I am.> He is so huge I am afraid he will explode and I don't know what to do to help him. <Well, you can at least rest assured that he will not pop. Exploding fish are not exactly common.> My little fishy-guy is about a year and 8 months, and was fine until near the end of last year. It seemed he suddenly got bloated, so of course I jumped online and began Googling for bloat/dropsy/swim bladder/constipation/tumor info. He does not have the pine cone thing, so I don't think it's dropsy - after this long, it doesn't seem that would be likely. He eats, although not with quite the gusto he used to, but he does seem to have interest in food. I am afraid I might have overfed him in the past (4 or 5 Hikari Gold pellets every evening, with a pinch of blood worms, but since the bloat, I only give him 2 pellets and a pinch of bloodworms, alternating with Tubifex worms). He is in a one gallon bowl of tap water (left to stand at last 24 hours & treated with Kent Protec-Coat, and Ammonia Detox, AquariSol and Doc Wellfish Aquarium Salt.) that I change 100% every 2-3 days. I have a philodendron in the bowl because he seems to love to rest on/swim through the trailing roots. We keep our house pretty warm, and the bowl is in the warmest room. He is able to swim - he goes to the top to breathe, and lately, probably because he is so huge, he often belly slides at the bottom or even looks like he is standing on his head. <My diagnosis would be an infection of bacterial nature. Dropsy is a term used to lump a vast array of bacterial diseases that show similarities in symptoms, so it is not effective in the identification of a specific pathogen.> I have no idea if he's pooping or what it should look like - I'm not sure I know where to look! Initially, thinking it might be dropsy or swim bladder, I gave him some doses of Jungle's Fungus Clear and also BettaMax. Neither seemed to do anything. In case it was constipation, I tried not feeding him for 3 days, except for a nightly pea (he does eat these right from my fingers) and giving him 1/3 teaspoon of Epsom salts. No change. When I shine a flashlight through the vase, I can't see anything that looks like a mass inside that bloat, but I don't know if that means anything. I don't want to hurt him or stress him by handling him, so I haven't really felt the bloated part. I am just at an utter loss as to what this could be and what to do for him.  You folks sound like the most knowledgeable I have found online, so please PLEASE help me! Thank you SO much for any advice you can give. <Once an infection gets this far, it is difficult to reverse it. I would recommend daily water changes of 50% - 100% water changes put more stress on the fish. Pick up some medicated antibacterial food and some MelaFix, as well. Feed the antibacterial food before a water change to reduce pollution, and do your daily dose of MelaFix after the change to prevent dilution. Stop all other treatments you have been trying - often, overmedication will ultimately lead to a fish's demise. Good luck.> 

To Mike G. - Thanks for Help with Bloated Betta Thank you so much for your kind reply to my question - I didn't even expect a personal reply - I thought it would be on the website. You are awesome and I am very grateful for the advice. <Thank you for the kind words.> I will try what you recommend immediately and hopefully, it will help. No matter what, I appreciate your site and at least I know where to go when I have questions. <Glad I (we) could assist you.> Many thanks! I'll let you know what happens. <Yes, please keep me updated, Mike G>
Follow up on Bloated Betta
To Mike G. <That's me.> I wanted to get back to you to let you know my little fish seems to be doing better. <Great to hear!> I got the Melafix and in talking to some other fish people at the store, they suggested I try Kanacyn instead of medicated food. <Sounds like a bit much. Kanacyn is a powerful medicine, and should be used cautiously, and only with an already identified condition, in my opinion. The reason I recommended the medicated food was that it gets into the fish's system, and is more effective in that. Your fish is certainly suffering from an internal infection, most likely bacterial, but it could also be constipation.> I did a little research online and it sounded safe, so I've been putting about 1/4 to 1/3 of a capsule of Kanacyn with 1/3 of a teaspoon of Melafix into my fish's 1 gal. jar every day with 25-50% water changes. <Sounds like the regimen I recommended. Glad you're being religious with your water changes.> His bloated belly has definitely gotten smaller, though it hasn't shrunk any more. <Good news!> He seems better in that he swims around more and doesn't stand on his head at the bottom nearly as much! He eats (and I'm careful not to overfeed him now and make sure he gets a pea every other day) and he even blows some bubbles. <Peas = good idea. You're one step ahead of me - this may be a case of constipation. Blowing bubbles is only a good sign. It sounds like your fish is going to make it.> Now - should I discontinue the Melafix and Kanacyn or keep this up a bit longer? One or both? I don't want to weaken his system with too much medication, but I don't want to stop short either. Not sure what to do now. The rest of his bloated belly may or may not go down. Oh, and he did have some stringy white poop before and just after I started his meds, but that seems to be gone now. <I would personally discontinue the Kanacyn and start feeding an Antibacterial (important that it is antibacterial) medicated food along with peas (just in case). Just follow the directions on the package to a tee, and I anticipate it helping your fish recover.> So - any further advice? And please do let me know what I should do about the meds. And mostly, THANK you for being there when I was panicking! <I'm glad I could assist. Just keep doing what you're doing and your fish should continue along the road to recovery. Good luck, Mike G.> 
More Bloated Betta Problems
Hi Mike ~ It's Arlene/Buffyenta314 with the bloated Betta. <Hi, Mike G here again.> More problems - it really seemed he was getting better for a while there, but he seems to have taken a turn for the worse.  In the past day or two, he was back to lying at the bottom of his vase, only coming up to breathe. He did eat some of his regular food, but I have not been able to get him to eat a pea at all. I noticed a thin sting of black poop yesterday, but nothing since. I don't know what normal fish poop looks like (one of those things you take for granted when your fish is healthy), so I don't know if black poop is normal or could be from the medication. I haven't seen any in the last day, and no white poop. Also, his bloat looks bigger again - it almost looks as if you could stick him with a pin and it would all go away! When he is at the bottom, he almost looks like he's slightly rocking, so I am not sure if that means he is constipated and really uncomfortable and trying to "go". <It certainly does seem as is he has taken a turn for the worst.> I put him in a smaller jar because it really is looking like its hard for him to swim all the way from the bottom to the top of the one-gallon vase.  I'm afraid I may lose him, but I can't give up without trying everything possible to save him. What should I do now? Should I stop all the meds? Should I continue to feed him or stop for a day or two and just try to get a pea into him? How small of a jar should I keep him in?  <Larger jars are certainly better than smaller ones - they present more space for waste dilution. Did you discontinue the Kanacyn? If so, and he took a turn for the worse, then I would start it up again. Everyone is wrong from time to time, and if the fish is looking worse after discontinuing a medicine/starting a new one, forget my previous advice and start him back up on the regimen he was healing with.> I don't want to euthanize him, but how do I know if he is suffering too much?  Or will nature take its course? <This is a decision that you will have to make for your fish. I cannot tell you if he is suffering too much or not, it's your call. Just do what you feel would be best for your fish.> Please let me know what you think and what I should do at this point. <If I were you, I would keep on top of my water changes, feed him what he eats, and keep him at conditions Bettas are most comfortable in. From the link below comes the following quote on the ideal Betta set up.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm  "An ideal Betta set-up includes live plants, warm water (low eighties F), not much surface disruption (no splashing hang on the tank filters or above water canister filter discharges), a tight-fitting cover to prevent jumping... (probably the third most common cause after starvation, and chilling) and cool-air drafts. of moderate hardness and neutral to slightly acidic pH (the last two are not extremely important to keepers who have well-acclimated specimens)."> Thank you for your help and advice so much!!!! <I really do hope that my advice helps you to save your fish.> 

Betta fin question Hello Got myself a new Betta 3 days ago. My first Betta died after 2 1/2 years and it was time for a new one. Tired of keeping a tank for my snail. Bought a new tank (2 1/2gal) with a charcoal filter and light. <Much better> My Betta, from now on to be referred to as Jack, seemed to be doing fine. He has two Neons to keep him company. (I hadn't done that before, but the pet store said it was okay). Today when I got home I noticed he was not his normal lively self and what looks like a cottony substance on one of his side fins. What is it and what do I do. Nothing else looks to be wrong with him, his other fins are fine and he is still a beautiful blue doesn't seem to be dull. <Yikes... not easy to treat the tank with the Neons in there... they don't like salt...> After reading through what seemed to be 1,000 other posts I had another question. With the light on the tank stays about a steady 78degrees, but you talked in some places about turning the light off at night so that the fish had "sleep" time. <Yes> But then the temp will drop, is it still something that should be done. <You could try seeing if turning the light on only during the night keeps all warm and steady enough... but I would look into getting a small wattage aquarium heater. Bob Fenner>

Betta Fish Torn Tail Hey there! I have a quick question. I just bought my two Betta fish (Captain D and Gordon) last night from Wal-Mart. I put them in a joint tank with the slide in the middle so they can't see each other- you know. Anyways, this morning when I got up, I noticed that Captain D had a "torn" tail. It looks shredded almost...as you can see; It was not like this when I put him in there last night. My boyfriend advised me not to put the little trees in the tank, saying it could tear their tails, but I figured since they came with the Betta tank it would be okay. I watched them for a long time to make sure their tails didn't get caught on the trees and they didn't. Since they are both in the same tank, I wanted you to see that the other one's tail is perfectly fine; and I figured it wouldn't be fin rot-- at least not that quickly anyhow. If his tail IS torn, will it ever grow back/repair itself? And if so, how can I treat Captain D to help it grow? Thanks!!! <Bettas do get so "feisty", particularly if they see other males, that they can/do tear their own fins by simply dashing about at times... this will self-heal... though you might put a bit of salt in with the one... just a pinch if the volume of water is less than a gallon. Bob Fenner>

Betta breaking my heart Hi, <Hello> I have a beautiful red and blue Betta. We have had him in a 10 gallon tank with underground filter, power filter, and heater for about a year.  We added a Plecostomus <A ten gallon system is too small for a Pleco> about a month ago, then about a week ago, we added a catfish and 6 neon's. Plecostomus died about a week ago, 5 of 6 neon's died within 3 days, and last neon died a couple of days ago. All fish have died since we got the neon's. Catfish seems to be okay. But, Beau (my Betta) is in trouble. Because of all the death, I took the tank completely apart, cleaned everything, and washed and rinsed everything with hot hot hot water. I put the tank back together with conditioned purified water, removing the underground filter, adding a second power filter. Beau started hiding and not eating. I thought he was stressed and would come around.  In the past two days he has developed whitish stuff on one side and looks like hair hanging from his top fin. I pulled him from the 10 gallon tank and put him in his original 1 gallon vase with a heater. He just hangs at the top of the water over near the heater. If it is just stress, I'll get rid of the cat fish and put him back in the 10 gallon tank. It breaks my heart. I'm very attached to Beau. Hope you can give me some help. Jill ps: in the process of changing out the 10 gallon tank, the one Betta, the catfish, and Beau were in his 1 gallon vase with filter and heater. I heated the 10 gallon tank before I added the kids back into the tank. There could not have been more than a 2 or 3 degree change in temperatures involved with the moves. <Mmm, that is still quite a bit of thermal shock... but your main difficulty is quite likely just "new tank syndrome"... ammonia poisoning... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betsysfaqs.htm and the linked files at top where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>
Re: Breaking my heart
Hi, I just noticed that he is hanging in the tank or sitting on the bottom of the tank with his tail down and his nose poked upward... that is, he is vertical in the tank. Does this tell you anything? Thank you... Jill <Nothing new... you need to check ammonia, nitrite... cut back/out feeding, get the system cycled... Bob Fenner>
Re: Breaking my heart
Dear Bob, <Jill> Thank you for your response.  Beau didn't make it. The catfish is still alive.  I added some AmmoLock and am doing the 7 day Melafix and changing out 25 percent of the water daily.  After that, plan to just let the tank 'cycle'... If the cat makes it, good, if not, plan to add the "Cycle" stuff and crank up the heat. I'll wait at least a month before adding another Betta. Then, it will just be a Betta tank. <Good> When 'cycling', do I continue to siphon clean the tank, and how much, how often. <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and the Related FAQs (linked, at top)> I'm wondering if a 10 gallon will support 1 male and 3 female Bettas and in what order I should add them. I don't plan to breed, and if they do, I'll just remove the babies. <Please read... re Betta Reproduction on WWM. Bob Fenner> Your comments are appreciated. Jill

Betta with clamped fins and losing colour Hi from New Zealand! <Greetings from California> My partner and I purchased a red Betta about a month ago, along with 2 Corydoras. We put all fish in a small quarantine tank of 10L (I think that's about 3.5 gallons?). <Yes> After about 5 days we noticed his abdomen was a little swollen and although he was still eating, suspected constipation as we didn't notice him going to the toilet. Starved him for 2 days the fed him parts of a pea, which he gulped down. Over the next few days his condition seemed to be improving so we decided to introduce him into the community tank. He seemed to settle in very well, although his abdomen still seems a little swollen. Over the last few days however he has started hiding a lot in the ornaments, only coming out for a quick breath at the surface, his fins have become clamped and not flowing as they used to and his colour seems to be fading, and he doesn't seem as interested in food as he used to, although he does eat occasionally. <Mmm> We have him in a 120L (30ish gallons?) with 6 swordtails, 2 Corys, a red tail shark, a Bristlenose Plec and some Neons. Unfortunately the Neons have caught NTD and are all dying off... (I euthanize them before they die). Could this disease affect Bettas? <Does not affect Bettas... does infest some other Characoids> We feed the fish flakes every day, with frozen bloodworms every second day and Spirulina tabs for the bottom feeders. The tank is fairly new (1 and a half months old), and we have done water changes just about every week as we probably put some fish in a bit early. Have regularly checked the water conditions (at the moment ammonia is 0.15mg/G, nitrite is .05mg/G, nitrate 1.32mg/G and PH is 7.5). We keep the water at a fairly constant 77 degrees (it sometimes goes a couple of degrees warmer but never lower). The swordtails appear to be thriving in the conditions, as we have several 2 week old fry swimming happily around. Having said that 2 of the females have been gulping at the surface, but only at night and only when the light is on.... We are very worried about him... could it still be constipation that is bothering him or is he suffering from something else also? Thank you very much for your time. Stu and Cherie <You sound like very good aquarists indeed. If it were me, I'd remove the Betta back to the quarantine tank... raise the temperature to the mid 80's F. and add a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt... this should clear the constipation... in a week or so. Bob Fenner>

Just a Few Basic Questions Hi, I just have a few questions about my Betta. First off, is a 2.5 gallon tank big enough or should I get a bigger one? I'm contemplating on a new filter, right now I have a sponge filter, is it adequate enough or should I really consider buying a power filter? And what recommendations do you have? Also, is it okay for me to put marbles on the bottom of my tank or should I include some gravel too? And one more! ;-) My fish has Ick, but he only has two spots so far, the one on his face left after I added some aquarium salt, and my friend has some "Ick away" by Wardley, is that brand okay or should I buy a different one, I want to stop the Ick before it gets worse. My Betta has been acting sort of weird, ever since I put him in his new tank he sometimes goes spastic and swims up and down and in circles really fast, is that normal? Or is there something wrong? The water is at the right temp. and I put water conditioner in it (TetraAqua "AquaSafe"), so is he just being himself or is there something I should do? And just a curious question I guess, whenever I turn the lights off in my room, but he charges at the glass with his gills flared and his fins open wide, I assume that he can see his reflection better, does he think there is another fish in the tank or is there some other purpose for it? Thank you for your time!! Chelsey W. <Great set up for a Betta. First problem to deal with is the Ick. All you need is salt. Read here for it's proper use. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showquestion.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 I would not use the Ick Away, salt will do the trick. Leave the bottom bare until treatment is finished. Do water changes with a siphon from the bottom. That's where the Ick reproduces. Always mix the same concentration of salt in to the new water before adding it to the tank. Turn the temp up to 84 and increase the air going to the sponge if possible. Continue treatment for at least two weeks after the last spot drops. After that you can add marbles if you like. I like gravel, but it's up to you. I think you're right about why he's charging the glass. As long as he doesn't bang his head too hard it's not a problem. When you get the Ick cleared out you will need to re establish the beneficial bacteria in the sponge. Read here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm Never wash the sponge. Tap water will kill the bacterial colony. If it gets clogged rinse it out in water removed from the tank. Sponges are great for removing ammonia and nitrite from the water after that bacteria gets established. Until then you should be testing and doing water changes to correct any spikes. Don>

Is my Betta sick? To whom it may concern, I have had a lot of success over the past few years raising Bettas. The last one I had "Frankie" lived for 5 1/2 years. <Wow! That's a very long time for this species> I usually place them in a Betta tank, but when I got the new Betta "Reggie" my mom's boyfriend put him into the 10 gallon tank with the tropical fish. I have now noticed that his upper torso is bloated. His appetite is fine and he's swimming around like it's not bothering him. A few days ago the bloating started to go away, now it's back again. I have read the other posts about other people's Betta's but this seems different. The bloating is on both sides of his upper torso behind his head, and it ends behind his front fins. The water in the tank is changed regularly once a month. The temperature is always at 78 and there is a filter that runs continuously. I don't see what could have caused the problem and it's never happened to any other Betta's that I have owned. Help me please??? <Don't know exactly what may be happening here... What is this Betta fed? Might it just be gorging itself in competition with the other livestock? I would isolate this fish in a breeding net, a glass "chimney"... so it can still get to the surface to breath, but not over-eat when the other fishes are fed... try some sort of laxative foods like brine shrimp, Daphnia... and see if the bloating decreases. Bob Fenner>

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

Betta ripped tail Hi! <Hello there> I got another Betta about two weeks ago, about 5 days ago I noticed that his tail was kind of torn, by the next day he had it worse ( like fibers?) I started treating him with Splendid Betta, BettaFix remedy because the guy at the pet shop recommended it, I removed a plastic plant I had in the tank and replaced it with silk ones. I also added aquarium salt (which I didn't know I had to add). I'm worried because now his tail is completely divided into two parts. can this be fin rot?? I don't know. Any information can help!! Thanks <Mmm, if it is some sort of "rot" it's important to figure out its root cause... You've already done about all I would suggest... Is this Betta in a container that has a heater? If so, I would raise the temperature to the mid 80's F.... and keep using the medications and salt you have been. Please read here re others Betta disease efforts: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm  and the linked files above.  Bob Fenner> 

Betta Rescue - It's a Long One! Greetings! I came across your wonderful website a few days ago, not long after I purchased my first Betta. I passed the male Betta display at a Wal-mart about a week ago and nearly half of the displayed fish were dead or dying, and I suppose my conscience got the better of me and I took one of the living fish home with me (my sister has already "rescued" three from the Wal-mart herself! ...separate containers, of course). It did not surprise me later that this male Betta has health problems, having come from Wal-mart and all, but I am fully committed in doing whatever it takes to nursing him back to health. I have used the search engine to your website and have read through most of the articles on Bettas and disease, though I am unsure if my Betta's situation fits the descriptions in the discussed topics, (I do apologize sincerely though if I have missed any articles with these symptoms and conditions all present and my situation has been previously discussed) and I am very hesitant to treat him for something that he might not have. I will try to describe his symptoms and conditions as best as possible. I moved him from the cup I purchased him in to a 1-gallon fishbowl with dustless gravel and a somewhat large aquarium decoration that he could swim through and hide under (I think it is made out of resin). I cleaned everything thoroughly and was very sure to put dechlorinator in the water. I made sure to transport him in the net because the water he came in looked terrible and I didn't want it polluting his new home. I matched the temperature to the water he came in because at the time I didn't have a thermometer. I tried feeding him Tetra brand Vibrant Blend Betta flakes after he had about a half hour to adjust to his new surroundings, though he refused to eat them. I scooped out the untouched food with the net after giving him about 5 minutes to eat it to prevent the water from getting polluted. He still seemed okay; he swam around the bowl very curiously and looked like he was adjusting well. The next day I got a thermometer and the water was cold! (About 66-68 degrees Fahrenheit) I guess I sort of panicked and immediately changed all of his water and replaced it at about 72 degrees (I didn't want it to be too much warmer than his previous water), though within an hour it decreased to about 70. I had also picked up a Stress Guard from when I purchased the thermometer and put that in the water before adding him again. After putting him back in the bowl he seemed to be just as curious about his habitat but a little less energetic. In retrospect I know it was a dumb idea to completely change his water after just moving him, I'm sure it caused him a lot of unnecessary stress. After a little while he went to the bottom of the bowl, hiding under the decoration, and would remain there unless I gently moved the bowl, but he'd only be active for about a minute or two before going back to the bottom. A few days passed and he became more lethargic and still would not eat, so I searched online to try to find something about Bettas refusing to eat and I found your website. Not long afterward I purchased some freeze-dried bloodworms and tried feeding him those. After putting my finger in the water and bobbing the bloodworms around for him for a few minutes (the technique really works with my sister's fish) he decided to try a little, though it was a very small amount, and I made sure that after a few minutes I scooped every last bit of the food to reduce tank pollution. The next day I tried the bloodworms again and he went after a small piece, although he swallowed it, then spit it out, swallowed it, and then spit most of it out, and I worried that maybe he has health problems preventing him from eating. So far I've tried Tetra brand flakes, granules, and freeze-dried bloodworms, and Hikari Betta Bio-gold, but he won't eat. When I purchased him he had a rather bright pinkish-peachish-colored face and behind his eyes on the top of his head there was a brown, spot like-pattern, leading to a very vibrant purple mid-body, fins and tail. I noticed the first day I got him that along the edges of his tail fin there were small streaks of a blood red color, though I wondered if it was just part of his coloring. In an attempt to try to gradually raise the temperature in his bowl I placed a small lamp nearby and as soon as I turned it on he came out from under the decoration and stayed, motionless, at the top of the bowl near the light (I guess it must have been a little dark in the place I had him in my apartment). I made sure that it wasn't too close and kept an eye on the temp in the bowl but I don't think it had much of an effect other than drawing him out of hiding. Just two days ago he flared his fins out for the first time when I gently moved the bowl to try feeding him and I noticed that his fins and tail were dissolving where the blackish-red coloring was (there were also small pieces of his tail floating around the bowl. I read what I could on Betta disease and fin rot from your webpage and the only things that sounded like what he had was Bacterial Hemorrhagia and/or Bacterial Fin Rot, which recommends Furan compounds, antibiotics, improved water condition and nutrition. I went to two pet stores in town and couldn't find anything with Furan and they really didn't have much for antibiotics, the stores seemed pretty picked over and disorganized. One store did carry BettaFix, and at the rapid rate his tail had deteriorated I was worried and decided to get some. I also purchased testing liquids for pH, Nitrite, Nitrate, and Ammonia to see if those were contributing to his tail and eating problems.  The pH was about 7.2 (I'm not exactly sure if that's too high or not), the Nitrite and Nitrate were both at 0ppm and the Ammonia looked to me to be 0, though my husband thought it looked like it might have been at 0.25. I looked into getting a heater though they didn't carry any heaters small enough for a 1-gallon, so the next day I bought a 2-gallon aquarium with an under-gravel filter with air bubbles and I bought a small heater. I also purchased some Dr. Wellfish's aquarium salt. I put the BettaFix, dechlorinator and aquarium salt in the new container and transitioned him to the new tank (I use a small, clear plastic bowl to gently move him from one to the other and it didn't seem to be as traumatic as using the net). I've very gradually stepped up the temperature in his tank with the heater and have kept it around 80 degrees. Today was treatment day #2 of the BettaFix and he looks much worse. He doesn't move around at all unless I move my hand in front of him and then he swims frantically for a little bit, bumping into the sides of the aquarium, though when he uses his tail he sort of twitches as if in pain. I've also found him lying sideways in the tank, which worries me a great deal. His face is steadily turning more and more pale at the tip, and underneath his face and spreading up near his eyes is very silvery white, which I think I've read is an indicator of stress. I added some of the Stress Guard to the new tank to see if it would help him any. The deterioration has spread from his tail and upper fin to the two fins under his face and the ones on his sides. Now I've noticed that he has light patches where his color is fading all over on one side of his mid-body with a very small amount of cloudy, whitish filmy substance. I just checked him about an hour ago and he has further developed a new patch of cottony substance underneath his gills. His scales do not appear to be sticking out though. I checked the pH, Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonia again in his new habitat and they have remained the same as before. A friend mentioned to me that there was a pet store in a nearby town that had a lot more aquarium supplies than the ones nearby. I checked the store and they have a whole wall of antibiotics and medicines, and many of the treatments mentioned on your web pages were among these. Before purchasing any of these though I was hoping I could ask your staff a few questions, given what I have described of his illness and living conditions, to ensure that I'm not endangering my fish by possible misdiagnosis on my part. I feel so horrible that I did not previously research into Bettas to become a little more prepared before purchasing him and prevent the mistakes I've very regrettably made, though I hadn't even thought about fish until I saw him and I just couldn't bear at the time to leave him at the Wal-mart! My assumption is that the water and habitat changes are what has made him stressed and that must be why he refuses to eat and explains his lethargy, though would that also be the cause of his rapid fin deterioration as well? What would be the best-recommended medication for his condition at this point? Should I stop using the BettaFix or continue with the full-recommended treatment? Would the BettaFix that is already in his water conflict with any other treatments, requiring another water change? Is there anything else I can do for him? He still won't eat, which is most likely hindering any kind of healing process, and I'm very worried that he might die. The pet store employees at the stores near me really aren't much help at all, and I don't know anyone else that knows about Bettas. Please email me with any response or suggestions, I just want to be able to do everything I can to help him. Thank you very much for your time, I'm sorry this email is very long and time consuming to read. I just don't know what else to do. And again, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much, -Jennifer <First let me thank you for the rescue, doing the research and the upgrade to his quarters. I'm not a big fan of UGF's but OK for a single Betta. But I think his weakened condition at purchase plus all the changes he's been through may have been too much for him. If the meds do not seem to be helping in a few days I would discontinue them. Do a few small, 20% or so, water changes daily to remove the BettaFix. Keep his temp steady around 80 degrees. Add one tablespoon of salt to his water and cross your fingers. Do not feed for a few days unless you see his energy improve a little, and then only lightly. A single flake at a time. Please understand that although it was very kind of you to rescue him this was a task for someone with a little more experience. But you now have a great little set up for a Betta and are gaining that experience. Should this one not pull through please replace him with strong stock from a good fish store. When we buy an abused fish anywhere we are only encouraging the abuser to buy and abuse more fish. If the fish is to die from their abuse, better to have them loose money on the deal. Maybe someday they will clean up their act or get out of the livestock business all together. Don>

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

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

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

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