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FAQs on Betta Diseases 6

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Betta Disease Causes/Etiologies: Determining/Diagnosing, Environmental (By far the largest cat.), Nutritional, Viral/Cancer, Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal) , Parasitic: Ich/White Spot, Velvet; Senescence/Old Age, Cures/Curatives/Treatments,
FAQs on Betta Medicines
: Betta Medicines period, Antibiotics/Antibacterials, Anti-Protozoals (Metronidazole, eSHa...), Copper, Formalin, Malachite Green, Anthelminthics, Organophosphates, Salts, All Other Betta Med.s,

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Betta's frayed fins... from? 7/12/05 Hi again, <Hello> I changed my Betta's [Haru] water today, and after I put him back in, I noticed that his dorsal looked sort of frayed.  Does fin rot usually start there? <At the tips of fins usually, yes... but, what is the cause?> Or could it just look like that because, his tail fin and dorsal have always been pretty transparent [he's a white Betta] Or, could I have accidentally torn it during transfer with the net? <Too likely the latter (I would use my hand, not a net), or just the change, new water> I'm not sure. I have always put aquarium salt and AquaSafe in his week-old water, and change it religiously every Monday.  Or, maybe I'm just freaking out for no reason... <Best to be patient here> Anyway, a little help would be nice, even if it's just to say "you're paranoid." Concerned, Crystal Howlett <I would not panic... often fish treatments/cures... are worse than actual diseases. Bob Fenner>

Betta health 7/12/05 hi, I looked all over the site, and I did find tons of great info, thank you very much.  I'm just still confused about what is wrong with Shaolin (one of my little ones).  He is new.  He is in a new tank.  All of a sudden, he has holes in his top fin!!  Does this hurt him?  I feel so bad for him.  I don't see any bacteria, but I do not know what it would look like. What can I do for him?  What causes this?  He eats fine.  I do not see him rubbing against the tank or gravel.  His tank is filtered.  He has one plastic tree in there.  Is he depressed maybe?  He seems to like to stare out of one corner of the tank at nothing!!  I used to have a LOTR doll there, maybe he liked it and misses it.  Anyway, I thank you for your time & any help you can give me. Jenn <... please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm scroll down... re Betta Systems, Disease, Behavior... Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta health 7/12/05
Bob Fenner, <Jen> Thank you very much for your help.  Your site is wonderful and I am passing it on to other fish lovers, like myself, who do not know much.  I think you saved my Shaolin.  I am off to do what is needed to help him, and buy different types of food for him! Thanks again!!! Jennifer Wright <Outstanding. Life to you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Betta strep? 7/10/05 Hi all, <Hey, Mike G here today> This is a phenomenal site with lots o' info and further places to go seek info!  I promise that I have checked this site and tons of others to read about my question; so please forgive my blindness if I missed an answer you've already given. Can/do Bettas choke or get sore throats?   <This is a hard one to answer. I am sure that any creature could choke if given ample opportunity, though I have never heard of a Betta experiencing such a problem. I doubt that is to be a valid concern. As to sore throats, I am sure that some bacteria might opportunistically invade a fish's throat, built, to the best of my knowledge, no specific bacteria will do such a thing, nor has throat infection been reported in Bettas.> How much aquarium salt is too much aquarium salt?  (Does it increase production of ammonia or nitrite?) <No increase in production of any nitrogenous compounds. Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all resultant of metabolic processes of aquatic life forms, not of salinity. How much is too much? I suppose when your fish resemble dill pickles, you should cut down on the salt. :-) Just follow the instructions on the package, and remember that salt does not evaporate, so don't include it in your top off water.> I've had BubbleMeister for under a month.  He's active, eats his micro pellets (HBH Betta Bites) and dessert (Betta Treat-looks like freeze-dried bloodworms).  If he spits out his pellet, I try one more (I feed him a pellet at a time), if no go - no dessert. <Sounds like you have him on a very nice feeding regimen. And, by the way, I love the name. :-) > He's in a gallon tank with a Smallworld pump and filter, 2 small silk plants, and about 1 tsp. aquarium salt. <Again, sounds good for the typical Betta setup. If you wanted to go above and beyond the norm, you could get him a larger tank (5+ gallons), and purchase a small heater for him. Bettas are, by nature, tropical fish, and do better in warmer water setups. (77+ degrees Fahrenheit)> Close to a week ago, while feeding him dessert, I noticed that I hadn't broken up one of the bloodworm looking threads(?) very well.  He was going at it, and chomping on it... seemed to be getting into the 'I'm going to' get you, you food you' excitement.  Then he sucked it all down in one gulp.   This is when the behavior started that I've been noticing during feeding now. I can't tell if it's excitement or fright.  He starts swimming rapidly, flaring, in tiny circles, or little spurts, at the top of the water, at an angle such that he looks as if he's swimming almost on his side, rapidly circling, while keeping an eye on the top of the water.  He does this for a few heart stopping seconds then, slowly chills down, flaring still occasionally at nothing in particular, with his stress stripe showing.  Goes and either drinks some water, or takes a breath... makes a bubble or two.   Then he'll eat another pellet with no problem, or spit it out, .. or if it's dessert, he'll eat it... with no problems.  It happened initially -just once- and only with his dessert.  Then a couple of days later it happened with his micro-pellet.  So I did a partial water change, and fasted him for three days.  It kept happening.  So 3 days later, I did a full water change (and got and treated different gravel - because the only thing I could think of was possible poisoning), and fasted him for two days.  It's still happening something like every other time I feed him.  It totally freaks me out 'cause I can't tell if he's in physical distress, or if it's some sort of manifestation of "this is my food, stay away you real and imaginary enemies... mine, mine, mine... this dead pellet ain't getting away" kind of thing. <Well, if he is eating and is otherwise alright (only shows this behavior during feeding), I would say you have nothing to worry about. If he stops eating or the behavior becomes more frequent, you might have a problem.> When I look at all the disease/infection info, nothing seems to fit.   <That's because this does not sound like an infection, just a strange behavior quirk.> His fins are tearing a bit.. <That could certainly be a sign of a problem, perhaps unrelated.> I've been watching them, and plan to do water changes and aquarium salt, watching the fins, before I go to fin rot meds... <I would do a large water change for him and purchase some MelaFix, a very effective antibiotic. Change his water as often as is feasible, and dose according to the package. If he is, indeed, experiencing Finrot, this will take care of it.> but the choking/sore throat/scary freaky behavior when eating is worrisome. Any ideas?  Thanks for keeping this site going! <I don't think you should worry about the odd behavior, only about the ragged fins, though Finrot is easily treated. Best of luck! Mike G> --BettaMeister mom.
Re: Betta Strep 7/11/05
Wow!  Thanks for the superlatively quick response, Mike G.!   <You're very welcome.> I feel better that BubbleMeister may simply be exhibiting behavioral stuff.  I'll keep my eyes peeled and follow your suggestions.  Re. the larger tank and heater.   Yup, it's in my plans.   <Good to hear.> Meanwhile I live in un-air-conditioned life, and will probably have to figure out how to keep him cooler than 85... until winter hits again!   <Ah, such is one of the largest obstacles of maintaining tanks without heaters/air conditioners/chillers/temperature control devices. Room temperature swings with the outside weather, and the tank temperature swings with it.> Thanks!!  :-) <Glad I could assist. Mike G>

Bubble on Bettas Belly 7/5/05 Hi,   <Hello> We've had our Betta 'Beta' (my daughter picked the name) for about 9 months now.  About three weeks ago, he developed a bubble on his belly, it's transparent, and just under 3/4" width and length.  Pretty big. <Yikes, I'll say> It looks like it's ready to burst, but it's looked like that with no change for all 3 weeks.  He's eating like a pig, swimming normally, scales aren't sticking out, fins are good.  Just that bubble. <Mmm, interesting... perhaps some sort of fluid retention...> So far, I've tried antibiotics, changing the food, extra water changes, sterilizing the tank (he DID not like going back to his old bowl) not feeding for a few days, shelled cooked peas (no help but he loved that treatment) heating the water (the one thing I found I was not doing right --It's in the low 80's now) and so many books and websites I've lost track.  No change.   As soon as I can get a working camera, I will be taking pictures....no one I've talked to in the last three weeks believes me when I say it looks nothing like dropsy or can figure out what's going on.  Hopefully I can get the little stinker to hold still.      Thanks for any advice in advance, my daughter and I really appreciate it.   I'm sure Betta does too.   Kathryn and Ruth Tucker <I'd try the old timey, but useful addition of a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per five gallons of system water here. Hopefully the change in external osmotic pressure, relief of internal pressure in the Betta's body will lead to reduced swelling. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bubble on Bettas Belly 7/12/05
Hi Bob, <Hello there> Epsom Salt has had no affect on Betta.  I even tried a stronger dip.  Nada.   Now he's starting to look VERY stressed, not eating, etc..  Poor little guy.  I have him back in his bowl, when I went to change his water today there was a moldy smell.... Maybe old food he didn't eat that I missed getting out? <Possibly> I'm sterilizing the tank again and replacing the rocks, plant (plastic) etc.   Do you have any other suggestions?  I'm still putting a little Epsom Salt in the bowl just in case, along with antibiotics.   Thanks, Kathy and Ruth Tucker <Am tempted to suggest another course of treatment altogether... Metronidazole/Flagyl... a protozoacide. Please use the Google search tool on WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Betta, suspected fin rot 28 Jun 2005 Hi I'm new to Betta owning. Bought the fish June 17.  He's in a 3.5 gal tank, undergravel filter with airstone in tube.  Water seems constant at 76 degrees. <Mmm, need an actual heater... to hold the temperature steady, tropical...> PH is high at 8 to 8.2 but it is the same as the water he was brought home in.  Water tested on Friday as soon as condition was noted and Ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0.  The tank has been running for about a month prior to fish purchase - treated weekly with Cycle. <Good> He seemed fine until Thurs and on Friday he had lost part of his tail fin.  Does fin rot happen this fast? <Can> Other fins don't seem to be severely affected at this point but they have lost some tissue as well and appear ragged.  Doesn't appear to be any raw looking edges but he is sure not a happy camper right now.  I moved him to a smaller bowl on Sunday and have been treating with Melafix but no obvious improvement yet. <This stuff... leaf extract... rarely does any good> Spends his time with fins clamped tightly and staying at the top or bottom of the bowl with occasional outbursts of fast swimming.   Still eating OK.  Feeding pellets during day and mixture of freeze dried brine shrimp, daphnia and bloodworms at night - likes everything except the bloodworms right now. <Okay> Other than being a new fish in a new tank the only thing I can think of is I forgot to close the window one night and the tank may have gotten cold and stressed him out.  I'm more careful now. Any suggestions are appreciated. Worried owner <The temperature fluctuation does have a causal role. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm Get a heater and set it for the low 80's F... and possibly use BettaMax or other mixed broad-spectrum gram-negative antibiotic prep. to speed healing. Bob Fenner>
Re: suspected fin rot 30 Jun 2005
Thanks for the reply, unfortunately by yesterday afternoon there were long wispy tendrils growing off his fins and he expired last night.   Tough to watch him go.  Do I need to strip down the tank and clean everything and start over before trying again? <I would> It has developed a funky smell from the Melafix treatment, or will just leaving it run with gradual change out of water be better?  Thanks Sad owner <I'd clean all out and ditch the Tea. Bob Fenner>

Betta Tail problem 6/29/05 Hi. I can't seem to find any info on the internet about this, so you are my last resource. I have a Betta, at the office. Every Friday I change his water -- no issues. This Friday, did everything the same, and I come in today - Monday - and I notice his tail looks like it's "shredded." It just looks like those curly ribbons on a gift! I have no idea why or how that happened! What is it? Did I stress him out? <Mmm, maybe... do know that tapwater is not a consistent product... might well be that whatever was "in the water" Friday was not to his liking> There are no spots, growths, discolorations, or anything out of the ordinary, other than his tail is in strips! Have you ever seen or heard of such a thing? <Yes... many times> He's eating fine (I feed him the Betta Gold pellets), and is as active as he normally is. Is there anything I need to do? Check? <Mmm, a few things. One, expand his diet to include meaty foods. Two, having a "real" aquarium with a heater, filter... Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm and the linked files above...> Thanks for your input. -Melissa <Thank you for expressing your concern. Bob Fenner>

My Betta's fins  are shrinking?? pls help 6/29/05 Hello guys. I  seem to be having a problem with one of my male Bettas. I've had him for about 4 months now and has always been spectacular to look at. however in the last 2 weeks I have noticed his tail fin steadily shrinking, and now I have noticed on his top fin, and even a little on his front side fin (the little ones they flip around rapidly). I Have no clue what they are called 8-)  There is no holes or not even a tear on them at all , they seem to be just shrinking, all but the bottom fin and the 2 long ones under his head look good too. There are some tank mates in his 10 gal with him they include 5 neon tetras, 2 zebra Danios 2 Chinese algae eaters and a frog. <Do watch for signs that the algae eater/s are "riding" your Betta> they have always gotten along and I watch them quite a bit and never see any nipping at all. there is some Anacharis and another small leafed plant floating and rooting in the bottom. He is very active swimming almost all the time up down all around, he begs for food whenever I go near the tank and eats like a PIG! <What sorts of foods? Something meaty, not just pellets I hope. Nutrition plays a powerful role here... the fin shredding could be directly related> I keep the water at 82 degrees with a submersible heater but need to do a water change. Its been over a month sense I've changed it. <Best to change some weekly> I test for ammonia and the pH about once a weak and have been fine. right now the PH is 7.5 and the ammonia is 0 ppm.  I don't chk the nitrates or nitrites, Should I? I feed them a mixed diet of  frozen blood worms, frozen brine shrimp, frozen veggies (all 3 are the little frozen cubes) and flakes, I alternate the flakes in every other day, and the Betta eats only the blood worms and the flakes. I'd like to see him get better and regenerate his fin growth but am not sure what to do? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the linked files above... till you feel confident you know enough> Again his fins look nice and sturdy with no splits or holes, and no discoloration on the ends or elsewhere, but his tail is about half the size it was 3 to 4 weeks ago? Pls help me this is my favorite of my 4 Bettas. thx  Allen.... <Read on my friend. Bob Fenner>

In your opinion... Betta I'm sorry to bother, but I want to cover all my bases. I've had my Betta for about 6 months now.  He was housed in a 10gal tank  with a filter and I've kept the temperature controlled to +/-80 degrees.  I  also had three Corys in with him.  I test my tank water religiously and  keep the bad stuff at zero (except pH has always been high (around  8.0) though no matter what I've tried.   I was eventually instructed to  leave it alone.) <Good idea> I change approximately 30% of the water every 10 days or so and  use Easy Balance, Prime & aquarium salt at the changes. When he was first given to me, he acted sick and his fins  started melting away but he came back around after some treatment and had  been doing well.   I added some plants about 3 weeks ago and things went downhill from  there.   I got a severe algae bloom and one of the plants died and crumbled  in the tank. <Mmm, what sort of plants? Some typically sold are not really tropical... and some don't "like" salt...> I asked about treatment and was told to thoroughly clean the  tank then leave the light off. <... the plants need light> I'd previously had it on about 12-14 hours  a day.  I did that but the algae came back.   I was told to leave the chemicals alone and get a little Oto cat  (I don't know the real name) to help with it before it got bad.  I did  that.  All seemed fine for a week then the other plant crumbled. (The  plants were like evergreens but long strips.) <?> I didn't want to tear down the tank again so soon because I know it  isn't good for it. <Correct> I did like a 50% water change and netted all the rocks  out and got all that I could with the nets from the bottom. <Good> One hour later, the Oto was dead. <They can be touchy... don't like hard, alkaline water...> The next morning, my Betta was listless and a little  swollen.  I skipped a feeding and the next morning, he was swollen even  more.  I fed him a little piece of a pea. The next morning his scales  started to stick out. :( <Oh oh> I started the tank on Maracyn II and set up the old five gallon  tank I had him in and the next morning, moved him in there with some Maracyn II  (as directed) and Epsom salt (1/8 teaspoon). I have a heater in there for him but my old filter didn't work but  I was able to put one of those air filters in (the kind that sits in the water  with an airstone).  I'm doing a 50% water change when I add in the Maracyn  II every morning and keep testing the water. <Good> It seemed the swelling went down a little on one side but two days  later, has since come back and now I'm finding what I believe to be pieces of  his fins (they consist of a black line surrounded by this white cottony  looking fuzz).    I have some jungle fungus clear here from his last bout and am  thinking of adding that in tomorrow morning after I do the water change, and  probably will unless I hear or read otherwise. <This is a safe, reasonable medication here>   I am also thinking I should  pick up some regular Maracyn on my way home from work tomorrow and use those  together, bypassing the jungle fungus clear.   <Possibly> I should add...I tried feeding him antibiotic food but he refused  it so I soaked some blood worm in water with a little of the Maracyn II in it  and he ate those the first couple days but is now refusing food.  He may  chase it a moment but he won't eat it.    There also appears to be a clear (or sometimes) milky bubble coming  from his bowel area at times. I have to admit... I am heartbroken.  I know from reading that  at this stage there is little hope but I would like, if you could, some  instruction on what I can do better or something more I can do.  I wish  there were someone I could run him to like a vet but I haven't found one in my  area as of yet.  I feel so bad for the little guy and simply don't know  what I should do. <Pretty much what you have been, are doing...> Any suggestions would be appreciated because I am second guessing  everything I'm doing.  Should I buy a new outside filter for the  tank...would that help? <Yes> Add or subtract or change dosage on any of the  medicines? Thanks for being here to ask. Caprice ~ <It appears your troubles came about as a result of the addition of the plants, their dying, polluting the water... Am hopeful your Betta will recover... do take care to not overmedicate its water. Bob Fenner>

Betta's tail rotting Hi.   I wrote in awhile ago about my Betta (Flash).  He is in a 5 gallon heated tank with a sponge filter.  Tank is fully cycled and water conditions are ammonia 0 , nitrites 0, nitrates 20.  Ever since I got him in December, his back fin has been deteriorating.  I know this is usually due to bad water conditions but mine are exactly as they should be.  I change the water twice a week or when needed.  Originally I gave him two different antibiotics assuming it was fin rot.  Neither worked.  At your suggestion I tried Spectrogram.  I thought it worked but every time as it seems like the fin is growing back I will suddenly wake up one day and see big chunks missing.  He is alone in the tank.  I just completed two rounds of Spectrogram with several days between rounds and then this morning there is more tail missing.  I don't know what is causing it or what to do.  Soon there will be no tail left!  He eats, swims, and acts normal.  Also yesterday I noticed a spot on his eye.  It looks like a shiny spot right over where the pupil would be.  It is still there today.  Any ideas what that is. <More evidence of something amiss here... my guess, chemically, with your water. What sort of decor items do you have in this tank? Do you have another tank that you might be able to use a filter from, a piece of Polyfilter to assess the make-up of the Betta five?> Everyone I know keeps their Betta in a tiny unfiltered tank and never checks the water conditions and theirs are all fine.  Mine gets the deluxe treatment and I keep the water conditions monitored and have had nothing but problems.  What am I missing? Please help!!!  I also bought Melafix to try.  I have used Betta Fix Remedy in the past but with no success. Thanks, Kim <It may be that this one Betta also just has "genetic troubles"... is not strong in terms of its biological inheritance from its parents. Have you tried adding a teaspoon of aquarium salt to the water? Bob Fenner>

Betta eating his tail :(( Hi my name is Roxanne and I just bought my male (Comet) from the pet store just over a week ago and he seemed fine. I have him in the Betta starter container (1/2 gal) until I am able to get him a bigger tank. I have been changing his water every two days and adding the chlorine treatment. <A good idea to set the new water out a few days ahead of use as well> I thought he might have the beginning of fin rot. It didn't seem to get any worse and I really didn't know for sure if he had rot because his fins didn't look like any of the pictures I have seen. Then yesterday at water change he fell in the sink, but I quickly picked him up and put him back. He was pissed for a bit but then fine or so I thought. Just before I went to bed I noticed him chasing his tail. I didn't think much of it and turned off his light and went to bed. I woke up this morning and his tail is in pieces. His top fin is also ripped. It looks like he chewed on it till he couldn't reach any more of it. I don't know if this would mean anything but I have a stapler beside his tank and only recently noticed that he could see himself in it. Maybe he stressing himself out and that is making him eat his tail? <Maybe... and Bettas are quite "autistic", and will chase their own tails... but much more likely what you're seeing is damage consequent from the dropping incident> I am very worried any advice you could give would be great. lol sorry for the long story but just want you to have as much facts as possible. P.S I have another male in a big bowl (1 gal) using the same water and temp and everything and he is doing great. I also added a bit more aquarium salt to both. <Ah, good. This is the best treatment. You might benefit from reading through the WWM Betta Disease and System articles, FAQs files> Any help you could give would be much appreciated. Roxanne and Comet...and Charlie :) <Bob Fenner>

Gasping Betta Hi Bob, Our Betta, Alpha, has been with us for a year now.  He had been healthy and happy for about a year until a little over a week ago when he gradually stopped eating altogether and started swimming less.  He has now decided to stop swimming altogether and only perches himself near the top of the water on top of a piece of plant.  The only time we can get him to move (we frequently have to check if he's dead) is when we slightly nudge his bowl and he'll swim about frantically for about 15 seconds at the top of the water straining himself to make his whole head up to the gills stick up out of the water!  There are no bodily external signs of sickness outside of a dull coloring, however, I decided to put him on Maracyn Two because I thought poor Alpha may have a gill disease.  I keep good tabs on his water temp, which generally stays between 75 and 80 degrees and test his water frequently.  He gets a full water change of his gallon bowl every 6 or 7 days.  Do you have any ideas on what we may be dealing with. We're on day four of his Maracyn Two and he's as sad as ever! In particular, this perching at the top of the water business and frantically sticking his head up out of the water while swimming in sort of a thrashing fashion really has me puzzled! Hope you can help! Amy <Since you are near the end of the treatment I would continue. Then start 50% water changes with dechlorinated water. Usually when a Betta starts sticking his head out of water it is because he can not get enough oxygen. If his gills have been injured there is little you can do except add an airstone and a little salt and hope he heals. If it is a water quality issue the water changes will help. But not 100% at a time. 50% max, daily for a week. Don>

Popeye Good news! My Betta's swelling has completely gone away. Interestingly, I went to the pet store and tried to get all of the things you suggested, but of course they didn't have any of them in stock, so I ended up buying BettaFix instead, since it was the only product they had. Almost immediately after I started treating him, the swelling went away. Unfortunately, however, my poor Betta still has terrible Popeye in both eyes that doesn't seem to be improving with continued treatment. Also, although the swelling has subsided, he still hasn't returned to his normal self. He's lethargic and sort of discolored and has a much smaller appetite than usual.  Any suggestions?? A <Try adding Epsom salt to his water to relieve the pressure in his eyes. A tablespoon per 5 gallons of water. Keep his water pristine by doing many water changes. 50% daily is not too much. Just replace the Epsom salt in the new water at the same concentration. Meds for the most part are ineffective against Popeye and can cause the water to foul. Most eye problems arise after treatment for some other problem. The trick is to reduce the swelling to save his sight and let his immune system do the rest. Good luck. Don>

Change Water Problem and the Effect of Aerosols on Fish (6/5/05) Happy weekend everyone! <Thanks, same to you. Steve Allen answering today.) I just have a simple yet strange question that I cannot find an answer to. I make my change water a week ahead of time in a 20 gallon plastic garbage can which I purchased just for that use brand new. I add the salt then water then water conditioner. Then I put in a heater and a large bubble stone and let it sit with a loose fitting cover. The last two times I decided to check the change water for no particular reason and there was a significant amount of ammonia in the water. <yikes!> I rinse the can out with hot water before and after every use. <I'd use room temp water rather than hot> I'd be a little concerned that the hot might cause the release of some chemicals form the plastic. I've noticed plastic odors when I use hot water in plastic containers.> Any suggestions as to why this is happening, because it really is frustrating to dump the water out and start over again... and costly too. Maybe a week is too long to let the water sit? Thank you, Heather. <Two possibilities come to mind. The first is that there is ammonia in your tap water. Test it. The second is ammonia in the salt. This happened to me once. Another possibility is that there's something wrong with your test kit. You may want to verify the results with your LFS. If there is no ammonia in you tap water (you should aerate for 24 hours before adding the salt), and there is after you add the salt, then the salt is the culprit.> P.S. A reader (Christene) asked a question regarding the deaths of multiple Bettas in her mothers bathroom. I had the same problem and found that when I quit spraying my hair and stopped using spray deodorant the fish lived. The spray particles where contaminating the water. Just a suggestion worth trying. ...And also for the lady in Loves Park Illinois with the Ich problem.... I live in Brookfield Illinois if you want me to try to help. I've gotten through Ich successfully before. <Thanks. Excellent observation on the aerosols. Using any aerosol chemical product in the same room (especially a small one like a bathroom) can be dangerous to fish in the room. If you'd like to be helpful to others in this hobby, you should consider joining our chat forum--lots of folks seeking input there.>

Betta with White Spot Hello: We have a male Betta fish, in a one gallon bowl, with a canopy light and small filter system.  I change the water every two weeks, I noticed the other morning that he is developing a light white circle on the top of his head just behind the eyes.  Can you tell me what it might be and what to treat it with?  I have asked at our local fish store and they have tested the water but said the findings were inconclusive. Thank you for your time Sofie < A small white spot may be the first symptom of Ich. It can be treated with Rid-Ich. If the spot is getting bigger then it may be a bacterial infection and I would recommend treating the problem with Furanace.-Chuck>

Strangely deformed and ill Betta Hello, <Hi there> I do Betta rescues -- that is, buying/adopting sick Bettas and attempting to nurse them back to health. <Outstanding> Recently, though, I've acquired a Betta unlike any other I've had. Velvet is very small, perhaps one and a fourth inches long, and in addition to a nasty case of Finrot (being medicated properly, of course!), he seems to be deformed. His body appears to be uneven, with more mass hanging to one side than the other, and he appears to be a bit hunchbacked as well. His ventral fins are clumped and curl up, getting in the way of his pectoral fins at times. Could this be a result of uncareful breeding? <Or "just" random genetic variation... defects as some state> When I bought him, he was happily flaring at the other fishes, but he seems to have worsened, despite my careful monitoring of the water's condition and the medication. The only environmental difference that I can think of is that he is no longer in the tiny store cup, and the water condition is improved. Specifically, Velvet does not bother to swim anymore, but floats on his side on top of the water. If he tries, he can swim decently, but it seems to tire him out, and he'll go back to floating on his side. He is also not eating. I'm worried. I don't want to consider euthanasia unless I absolutely must, but I also don't want poor Velvet to starve to death. Please, can you help me? Thank you in advance, Sandra <I wish I had something positive to offer here. This fish is likely doomed by heredity... as well as development, treatment before your good care, better put down. Bob Fenner>

(Another case of a) Bloated Betta My poor Betta is dying!  His stomach region is extremely swollen and bloated, he swims with his entire body inclined sideways, and he seems to be unable to swim to the bottom of his bowl without floating to the top against his will.  He doesn't appear to have the protruding scales that are symptomatic of dropsy, but he does have pop eyes, I think.  Is there anything I can do for him?  Is he constipated, growing a tumor, suffering from swim bladder disease?   <This seems to be a common affliction of Betta splendens, or so I have learned in my time here. 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. 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. Best of luck! Mike G (wow, it's been a while, hasn't it?)> Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated! -A

Betta, Ghost Shrimp, and Corys pt2 Thank-you for your prompt response. Sadly, my Betta died. He showed no signs of sickness at all. I came home from work (same day I sent my previous question) and noticed he was at the top of the tank, practically lifeless and alarmingly pale. I read about Betta diseases and did not notice any white spots, bloating, or anything like that. Just his loss in color, practically all gone! I took him out and put him in a bowl, using the same water from the tank. I was going to get some treatment in the morning but he died. Do you think this was because of the Corys? What should I have done to prevent this? The tank is almost 2 gallons with a filter, one rock, and a fake plant. I'm afraid to get another Betta for fear of killing it. What is your recommendation? Thank-you. Sheila <This is two deaths in a rather short period of time. I would hold off a little also. If all is well with the last Cory in a month or so then I would go get another one or two of the same species. If that goes well, then try another Betta. There is usually no problem mixing these two fish. Even an aggressive Betta will usually not bother the bottom dwelling Corys. But not having seen the dead Cory it is impossible for me to say if it was infection or from a fight. But I'm leaning towards infection with the death of the Betta. Please do not treat if you do not see signs on the Cory. That would cause your water quality to decline quickly. Instead try doing a few more water changes. Keep the tank pristine and allow his immune system do the rest. And if you do not have a heater I recommend you add one. Both these fish are tropical and need a steady temp in the high 70s to thrive. Don> 

Mars' Last Chance Dear Bob, I've tried to find some answers to what may be a hopeless case -- but hope springs eternal. We've had Mars for almost three years, and he has always gotten a bit stressed when we go away, even if our fish sitters come in and feed; usually, a few days in a BettaMax bath helps him regain his good humor. We also have Miles, who is basically "bomb-proof" --a happy-go-lucky little guy who eats like a pig and lives life. Miles is over a year old. We were away this weekend, just for two days; unfortunately, Boston was hit by a heat wave while we were gone. I had left them both some food on top of their tanks when we left; both of them have never been sick. When we got back five days ago, Miles had Popeye, and Mars was just being listless on the bottom of his tank. I've been treating Miles' Popeye with Maracyn and a little Epsom salt; he's eating again like a pig, and his eye is getting less swollen. Mars is doing very badly -- he never got out of his listless phase, and he looked a bit swollen; however, it doesn't look like an advanced case of dropsy. He won't eat -- not even a pea -- so I have been treating him in a shallow bowl with clean, aged Bettamax'ed water, and have been adding Epsom salts, and Maracyn-2. He looks absolutely miserable, and this morning, I was horrified to see that his long fin had broken off. Should I euthanize him? I don't know whether the problem is that at his age, the sudden increase in temperature was just too much for him. We love him dearly, and it breaks our hearts to see him suffer. I'd truly appreciate an answer soon, since I'm thinking that we'll put him in a Ziploc bag with water, and place him in the freezer -- this is what I've read is the most humane way to euthanize a Betta fish. Thanks, Niki <Niki, I would not put him down yet. I would start changing out the water to get rid of the medicine. His problems started from the heat wave, not illness. Putting the meds in his water is just stressing him more. He is a bit old for a Betta, a sign of your good care. And that may work against him here. But I think his best chance is fresh, clean water. Try to get him eating again with whatever his favorite food is. But be careful not to over feed and remove any he does not eat right away. If you do think it's time to end his suffering the freezer will work. But do it in a cup. Fill it with water, put it in the freezer, and let it chill to the point of skim ice. Then break a whole in the ice and slide him in. Death is almost instant. But not yet. Don>

Mars' Last Chance pt 1a Sorry, Bob -- I neglected to clarify that in my previous email about Mars and Miles, they are both Betta fish, they are kept in separate (but equal!) tanks, of course, I do a complete water change every week, with aged water, and add five drops of a dechlorinator -- so, since we've had Mars for almost three years, and Miles for about a year and a half, the water seems to be fine for them. Thanks again, Niki <Sounds good, but I would only change 50% of the water at a time. But if this works for you and your fish I do not want you to change. Don>

The Passing of Mars Thanks again to Don for his quick response to my question regarding my ailing Betta fish, Mars. I'm sad to report that Mars passed on  Saturday night, June 11th. Mars taught me a lot about fish care, and life -- and continues to do so, even in his present state. I brought his body to the fish store where I had purchased him -- as it turns out, TWO years ago, not three; however, I was surprised to learn from one of the aquarium folks that most of their Betta fish are already one year old when they are brought into the store to be sold. So, I went from believing he was three (Mars was so named during the summer when the planet Mars was near the earth; I mistakenly had thought that was in 2002, but it was 2003), to thinking he was two, to know believing again that he was three. Upon removing him from his tank, I can clearly see a whitish on his bottom side, beginning right under the gill cover (from side to side) and extending to the pelvic fin. This is the only unusual discoloration on the fish. The aquarium person told me that he definitely didn't have dropsy, or fungus -- nothing on him is fuzzy. So, while we will give Mars a dignified send-off (and not into any local waters), I'd certainly like to know what the possible causes of his death are -- and, if he was two, is that considered a "premature" death? And if he was truly three? Thanks so much, folks -- I'm sure I'm not the first Betta owner who is both saddened and flummoxed by the quick demise of a beloved pet (it's just been seven days since the temperature rose due to a Boston heat wave while we were away for a weekend, he became listless, even though the house was now moderated by air conditioning, I medicated him, then removed him from his medications). Niki <Sorry to hear you lost him. But you are correct that we are always learning in this hobby. I hope you use your knowledge to care for another Betta. You may never know the true cause of death, but the temp increase, medication and his age were all factors, IMO. Bettas today are bred, and inbred, for their fins and colors. Life span seems to have suffered. Four and five year old Bettas are far rarer today than ten years ago. So you did well with him. And with the sadness of his passing comes the excitement of looking for your next pet. Good luck. Don>   

Spreading black spot on male Betta tail fin Hi! <Hello> I hope you can help me. I've scanned your info and haven't seen a problem described quite like this before. We have a male Betta, red and iridescent blue. We've had him approx. 8 mos. and he seems to be healthy except he has a black spot on his tail fin that seems to be spreading. If he were human I would say it was skin cancer. His fin does not seem to be "dissolving," however, which seems to be how you describe tail rot. In all other regards he seems fine; he still builds bubble nests, eats, swims toward me when I approach, and flairs if I get really close. He is in a two gallon bowl, and there never is any measurable amount of ammonia when I test the water. We do have very hard water which is softened but remains highly alkaline even if I use a buffering agent. Any ideas? Your help would be greatly appreciated.  Beth <It may well be that this "melanized" area is naught but some developing color region. I would not be overly concerned re, and definitely would not "treat" for it. Bob Fenner> 

Betta Fin Rot Hi, <Hello there> I am terribly confused about the fin rot condition in Betta fish. I have had my fish, Dory, for about a year and a half. He has had swim bladder disorder in the past, specifically when I first got him.  However a few days ago I had thought he had swim bladder disorder again, with the way he was swimming around. It was difficult for him to swim and He just rested on a leaf all day a few days ago.  I changed his water yesterday after deciding that it would be beneficial to him, even though I did not want to move him. I usually change the water and clean completely every other week, with a partial change every week. <How large a container...> I Have been medicating with Betta fix, however this morning when I checked on him, I saw pieces of his fins on the ground. I did not realize he might have fin rot until this morning. <...> He's only in a half gallon Betta tank  <Ahh, this needs to be cleaned twice a week...> because I live in a college residence, and it has to be easy to travel with and move him around (plus we're not supposed to have any type of pet including fish) .  I went to the pet store and the girl told me that the Betta fix should help and that anything else (Neosulfex, fungus eliminator, etc.) would be difficult to treat him because of the size of the tank. (it's too small to find the right dosage).  I did buy a different type of treatment with Aloe Vera specifically for Bettas (stress coat), and am treating him with the 2 different remedies. I'm just wondering if there's anything else I can do for him and whether these remedies will cure him or if I should buy something else. Am confused about Epsom Salts, and have heard that that could be helpful to fin rot. I have spent hours online trying to research this, and I come up with different answers, some people saying how to treat one way, others saying another. I am not sure what to do. I guess I also want to ask if Dory will be able to make a full recovery. I do not have a ph/ammonia testing kit, and my resources are limited because the pet shops in my area are not great. Also wondered if it's known if fin rot is very painful for Betta fish. I am very worried, and would like to treat him ASAP, I am just confused with the amount of products on the market suited to the size of my aquarium.  Thank you so much in advance for all of your help Sam <No use in feeling bad... and little use in the compounds you have been administering. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm re Betta Systems... then the linked files above on Betta Disease... I would add some "aquarium" salt here... and nothing else. Bob Fenner> 

Septicemia Hello, First, I wanted to say that your website is much appreciated and very helpful. The problem I'm having is properly diagnosing and curing my female Bettas (both are opaque whites). One of them now looks like a butterfly Betta due to the red streaks on ALL fins...the other has a tiny red spot on her tail, and some red streaks on her anal and dorsal fins. Thinking they might have Septicemia, I've treated them with Maracyn 2 for 10 days and it doesn't seem like anything happened. I'm not sure if I should repeat treatment again with Maracyn 2...Any further suggestions or help on how to cure these red streaks are welcome. The following is more detailed information regarding their background, etc. Current symptoms: They still have their red streaks in their finnage. They've been off their meds for about 10 days now, and their attitudes have severely changed. They are lethargic and listless, tend not to eat as much, and scared (they often hide when I come to look at them or they dash quickly into their pagodas when I gently drop their food in)...They used to be more active swimming around (mainly because the smaller one would get chased every now and then) and friendly (coming to greet me when I'd feed them) Recent Changes & Food: 3 days ago, I put a clear divider to protect the smaller female (stop the chasing) since their behavior change. Sometimes, the sisters hang out facing each other through the divider...I can't tell if the smaller one now lost her appetite due to depression? She still eats, but very little (maybe 3 pellets and 2 live brine shrimp once a day). It's odd because the other female (the one that now looks like a butterfly) eats well. I usually feed them twice a day mixing flakes, pellets, and live brine shrimp. For example, 6 pellets & 5 brine shrimp for each Betta twice a day...Am I overfeeding? <Yep! Cut to all they eat in a minute or two once a day.> Tank situation:  I have them in a 10-gal with a sponge filter (I will be getting a 2nd filter, now that the tank is divided). I do weekly water changes (50%) adding only aquarium salt (Hawaii's tap water doesn't have chlorine). I have enough floating water sprites (Ceratopteris) to cover about half the tank (I clean off dead leaves and rise plants weekly). For their "homes" they each have a ceramic pagoda... <Are you sure about the chlorine? You may have chloramines which must be removed.> Background: I got the pair in early April (fully white). I didn't change their water for about 3 weeks (since my aquarist friend told me not to) until one female showed some red streaks in her fins. However, I was told that they were just stressed out and no treatment was necessary. I then began to do water changes weekly...When the red streaks worsened and also began to appear on the other female in early May, I began to worry. That's when I started treatment w/ Maracyn 2. Thanks, Nell <Sure sounds like a bad case of Septicemia. Many times this can be cured with water changes alone. Lots of them. Like 50% daily using a gravel vac to get all the old organics out of the system. I do not see any mention of water tests. You should be testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. You are looking for zero on the first two, nitrates below 20ppm. With the signs you are seeing I would bet you have very high nitrates. The water changes will correct. If they continue to decline treat with Oxytetracycline. If possible remove them to a QT tank for treatment. The meds will kill off your beneficial bacteria causing ammonia and nitrite spikes. If you treat, you must test. Don>

Does a dead Betta sink or float? Either I just want to be sure before I lose all hope. About an hour ago, I noticed Halacarnimirie had trouble staying afloat. he struggled to swim up for air, almost lopsided, and then abruptly sank like the marbles he crash landed on. he would stay there, face down, red fins waving and when I gave him a tap he darted around lopsided again, then promptly sank again. I thought perhaps it may be a swim bladder problem so I wasn't planning on feeding him, then again he hadn't eaten his food from yesterday.  I immediately changed his water and added some Ick and parasite cure and bacteria and fungus cure just in case and only used a little water so he could reach the surface more easily. I've always used tap water treated with aquarium salt and stress coat for the 11 months I've had him. <You should use your grammar and spell checkers so diligently> I lifted him up a few times with the net so he could get some air, he seemed to breathe in a gulp, then I put him back in where he let out a few bubbles, gills occasionally moving. well, its been a half an hour now and he is just laying on his side without moving. I've nudged him with no response... alas, I think Halacarnimirie has finally shed his mortal coil. I just had to ask, I would hate to think that within a day he could possibly snap out of his watery coma or something. Halaluine, my previous Betta, lasted about a year and a half and let me know he had expired by considerably floating quite obviously on the surface with his blue gills all a mess. <I would not panic, discard this animal at this point... Could be just a bout of melancholy, or a cycling incident in its environment. Please read on WWM re Betta Systems and Disease. Bob Fenner> 

Betta problems I tried finding answers on your FAQ pages, but nothing matched what exactly has been going on with Matsy. It all started when we got a female to breed him with, since he was always blowing bubbles. The female had the white protuberance, changed from horizontal to vertical stripes when we put them together. Matsy was very patient, displaying, poking her a bit now and then, but not too aggressive. Just letting her know, I assumed, he was ready. But, Angelina never responded, so we separated them. <Happens, good move> A day before we put them together, Matsy had stopped eating, and we figured it was stage fright or something. Two weeks later, he still hasn't eaten! I read that Bettas can become depressed, so I figured that was it. But, today I noticed his fins seem to be less active, are sticking together, and he's occasionally twitching. So I went out and bought Aquari-sol and added it, along with some salt. I also changed the water 100%. I'm not sure if that was appropriate, but he really didn't look very healthy today so I wanted to try to get at the source right away. <Mmm, not likely too much trouble here> So, am I treating him properly? Which disease does the twitching and not eating indicate? If a Betta fails to entice a female, can he get depressed and not eat? If so, how do you encourage him to eat again? <Well, I'd rather use a Malachite Green solution on Bettas than Copper (Aquarisol in this case), but the salt is a good idea. What temperature is this animal's water? What foods, not just dry, are you offering?> Hopefully Matsy will recover. While I was at the store, I couldn't help but by this cute female (yet un-named) to give Matsy another chance. Thanks! Lori p.s. Will your reply be easy to find on your site? <We respond directly and post all. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Betta problems
Thank you so much for responding. Matsy seems to be moving around better today, but his fins still seem droopy, and he still won't eat. I've been feeding him Betta Bites since I got him in February. I tried Freeze dried bloodworms and sun dried Baby Shrimp back in February too, but he never ate them. (The other Bettas (our family is now four) do. And I got some frozen brine shrimp in anticipation of babies, but he won't eat those either. What else can I try? <A vitamin, appetite enhancing product added to the food, water... these are made for fishes, aquariums> He does have a live plant (fern) in with him. Will that make infusoria? Could he be eating infusoria to sustain him these days? <Might be...> I need to get a thermometer to check the temperature. Our office all winter was really warm (80) so I never worried about it, but when the air conditioner kicked in (we can't control that going on, but I did plug the vent so the cold air doesn't come in), I got a space heater and we run that round the clock. Still, it's probably not the preferred 80 anymore. I know other Bettas in the building that seem to be doing fine with lower temperature. <As long as not too low... low 70's, high 60's actual water temperature, and not vacillating more than a few degrees F. per day, should be okay> I can go out and get whatever medicine you think is most appropriate. From what I read on the Web the Aquari-sol seemed to be recommended by some Betta people to cure lots of things, so I started with that. <Am not a fan of such medicines for Bettas... too serious side-effects... toxicity> Thanks for your advice. I love Matsy (man are Bettas addicting or what?) and want him to thrive again! It's amazing to me how interactive Bettas are with humans. Lori <Very "human-attuned" animals. Bob Fenner> Re: Betta problems One more thing on Matsy, we noticed today his eyes seem to be bugging out a bit, definitely look different than originally. Thanks! <Good observation, and troubling... sometimes evidence of internal trouble, infection... I would add a bit of Epsom and Aquarium Salts to this fish's water. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta problems, Matsy Has Gone
Thanks for all your feedback. Unfortunately Matsy passed away Thursday night. Very sad. He was the best Betta (I imagine others might argue that point). Now Osiris is starting to have the same symptoms. I haven't been able to find the Malachite Green you recommended for Matsy. My roommate used the same fish net as we had used to take Matsy's body out of his bowl, so we're thinking Osiris may now have the same thing... <Maybe...> At any rate, we'll do our best. I really appreciate your generous feedback. Lori <Glad to offer my help. Please do peruse our Betta archives. Bob Fenner> 

Fungus and ...? Hi! I've written before regarding the same Betta fish, Louie, and you helped me then so I hope you can help me now. <Will try> First the specs: weekly water changes (without fail) of 90%. This seems to work best for him as opposed to 50% water changes. There  are ammonia-absorbing/filtering rocks on the bottom of his 1 gallon aquarium mixed with a little bit of regular gravel. Water is a set at 80 degrees constantly. I do use 1/8th teaspoon of stress coat per water change and 1/2 tsp aquarium salts. He has his fish net *when it needs to be used*... generally I don't have to touch him with it at all as I use a small, flexible bowl instead. I don't know the water readings. <All sounds good> Now the problem: My poor little king has green stuff on him! Grass-green, like algae colored, sheathing the ends of his some of his fins. First thing I did when I noticed this about 2-3 weeks ago is change the water and everything in the bowl; the green was on his plants a little too, so they were tossed and new ones added. All gravel was thrown away and replaced.  <Have seen actual algae grow on damaged, diseased Bettas... but am wondering here...> Everything brand new except the bowl itself and that had none of this green stuff actually ON it anywhere. Cleaned it with bleach. The green stuff came back, so either something with the water itself (which took a good 5-6 months to show itself) or something with the fish. Went to a pet store and the 'fish expert' there suggested something called Clout. Used that three days. Seemed to work for a bit then everything came back. Was recommended to me by another Betta owner to treat with maracyn-2. Gave him a full five days, changed the water. Then a patch of fungus on his head.  Treated with MarOxy and it went away. By this time, I was getting a little worried about all the meds I was pumping into him, of course. Of late, because I can't shake that green stuff, I asked another fish expert at a pet store and they suggested Betta Fix, which I was trying to stay away from. Having exhausted most other methods to me, I started on that, this being the 4th day. I was cautioned not to change out the water completely even though the old water was still MarOxy-laden. Did a 50% change before administering the Betta Fix.  This morning I wake up and see things have gotten much worse; the green is still there and some on his chest, which I am worried will get into his gills. PLUS he now has some kinda crust or slime or something in a half circle around his left eye and it looks like more coming in on his back-- I remember the last patch looked like he'd lost a few scales and then got fuzzy. That's how it looks now... like he lost a few scales so I expect the same. I will do a 100% change again tonight and just use salts, raise the temp maybe and wait until I hear back from you. I am now at a loss as to what I can do to save my poor boy. Please advise.  Thank you very much! Becky <I suspect that the original "green" material may have been nothing to worry about... but that the subsequent medicating has compromised your Betta... I would cease all such treatments and just add a level teaspoon of aquarium salt per five gallons of water to his system. Bob Fenner>

Missing Betta fins hi. I recently got my 2nd Betta fish and a tank that advertised a Betta divider. The first night (about 10 days ago) the smaller fish slipped through the divider somehow. Luckily, we got him out before any damage and put him on his side. We couldn't figure out how he got through, <Likely "over"> and neither fish seemed to have any problems or scrapes. Today however, we noticed that the smaller fish is missing a large portion of the fin that is on top of its back. When we looked at the big fish, we noticed that the tips of its tail seem kind of straggly. Because we are new at Bettas, and tanks, we don't know what it could be from. We are assuming that it is unlikely that it is the filter, but could the fish be nipping at each other? if that is the case, what can we do to help them? or could it be some type of water bacteria? the water is clean and I used the dechlorinator stuff and let the water sit until it was room temperature. please help! <Please go to our site (URL above) and read the articles and FAQs archived on Bettas... Bob Fenner>

Sick Betta I have been treating my Betta for several months now. < WOW that's a long time!>  I noticed a white-cotton appearance on his fin and started with a anti-fungal treatment. Several treatments later, a couple of months, and he still has this stuff which doesn't appear to go away. Now I see that underneath the white stuff is a wound or tumor-looking growth. < Fungus is usually a secondary infection.>  I changed his water today (do this weekly) and it appears to stresses him. Each time the white stuff reappears. This week it looked like the reddish part was seeping a little.   I am using APPlus+ Anti-Fungus for Fungus & Fin Rot.  He is in a gallon tank with no filter system.  Will the white cottony stuff ever go away. Will he ever feel better? What do I need to treat him and make him a happy healthy fish? < Clean the tank and replace half the water with bottled/distilled water. Treat with Nitrofurazone. It will take care of the fungus and the bacterial infection that has caused the original problem.-Chuck>

Betta Problem My daughter has a single Betta and I noticed today that it has a white "blob" hanging under its chin (for lack of a more accurate word) between the first two tiny fins. It seems to be attached as it's not coming off when he brushes up against the plant. Is this Ich? I've seen it described as white spots, but this is an actual 3-dimensional thing. (honestly it sort of looks like a teeny white brain). Any ideas or suggestions for me? Thank you in advance.  Tracey < It sounds like you fish has a prolapsed anus. Many times fish are feed a heavy meal and the fish has a problem moving the waste out of its gut. I would recommend that your feed your Betta once every day. Only feed enough food so that all of it is gone in two minutes. Any left over needs to be removed.-Chuck>

Betta with Popeye Dear WWM Crew, I'm a new Betta owner and have had a male Betta in a 5 gallon, filtered hex tank with bio wheel for two-weeks. His right eye has developed what looks like Popeye (cloudy and slightly enlarged). He is active and eating well. After researching the WWM site - reading facts on tank cycling, other aspects of Betta care and responses to previously posted questions, I have taken the following action: tested his water (ammonia, nitrite and ph are o.k. need to get a nitrate tester so not sure about nitrate level), made a 50 percent water change and added a tablespoon of Epsom salt. From reading through your site, I know I should have allowed my tank to cycle before adding fish :( , and I should add a heater to warm up the water which is currently 75 degrees in the daytime and 70 during the night. I plan to do water changes (25 percent) every other day for a week. What else should I be doing to turn this around quickly before the eye problem becomes worse? Should salt be added with each water change or is the salt treatment a one-time application? Should I medicate with BettaMax or Metronidazole? Thanks so much, Hecetabride <Sounds like you're on top of everything. Replace the Epsom salt that is removed in water changes. It will not evaporate, so only replace when you drain water out. Do not add more Epsom salt if you are just topping off. And please do get that heater. Keeping a Betta at a steady warm temperature is very important to long term health. 78 to 82 will be fine. Keep up with the water changes. I would not medicate. If he gets worse you could treat with an antibiotic, but this will nuke your bio filtration resulting in ammonia spikes. Most eye problems are water quality related. Keep it pristine and he should be fine. Don>

Re: Something's wrong with my Betta!!! Hey Mike, <Hey> Thank you for the tip, do you know what type of bacterial infection it is? <No, sorry, I do not.> Also, what I mean by the edge of his gills are white is that it's more white than the rest of his body (plus I've never seen that whiteness before). <Alright. My recommendation still stands. Do let me know how he fares. Best of luck, MikeG> -Katie
Re: Something's wrong with my Betta!!!
Hello there again, <hey, Mike G here> It's been about a week since I bought the BettaFix medicine, my Betta's fins are starting to go back to normal, <Great to hear!> however he still isn't eating, and he's still hanging around at the bottom of the tank instead of swimming around. <Not too great.> Another thing I noticed was that around my Betta's face and lips, there are some red spots...it looks like cold sores or something, should I continue with the medicine? <I would continue with a good water change regimen, feeding well, and the medication and see how it turns out. Hope it turns out for the better (Betta?). Mike G> --Katie

Betta with Lump I have a male Betta in a 5.5 gallon heated and filtered tank. I change his water (about 10%) about each week and he eats freeze dried brine shrimp. I feed him once a day a serving about the size of a pea. He had developed a lump on the right side of his body about the size of half of a pea, and the scales are a little raised (but not a whole lot).  He swims plenty, and only seems a little less active than before. He was still blowing bubble nests up until a few days ago. He's had this lump for about 3 weeks and I can't find any info about it.  I did try to give him mashed peas after a couple of days of fasting just in case he was constipated, and I did see him poop, but the lump didn't go away. The only thing I can imagine is that he has some sort of parasite. When I agitate his water, I can sometimes see very thin, white, worm looking things (like a pin-worm) wiggling around in the water. Are they causing this problem, and if so, how do I get rid of them? Thank you so much for your help! Sick Betta wimp < If you think he has an internal bacterial infection like bloat or dropsy then treat with Metronidazole. If you think he has an external bacterial infection then I would treat with Nitrofurazone. The little worms can be killed with Fluke-Tabs. I would go with the Nitrofurazone treatment first.-Chuck>
Lump on Betta
Hello, I reviewed the postings and can't find one with these exact symptoms. My Betta, Gus, has been lethargic for a few weeks, staying at the bottom, which he never did before. Yesterday, during some tank maintenance, I noticed he has a lump on one side of his abdomen. I can see the scales extended a little on the lump, but I don't think it's the "pinecone" I see described often. Aside from this, Gus is eating and his color is fine. A little over 2 months ago, Gus had an episode immediately after the untimely death of a snail, where he lost color and was barely moving. I cleaned the tank, changed a lot of water, and Gus perked up right away. After the snail, we introduced a Pleco and that seems to have gone fine, but I wonder if anything's related? Gus has a 2.5 gallon tank with filtration. He eats pellets once a day. There was a plant in the tank which recently died and I removed. We've had Gus for a year and 2 months. I hope you can help me catch something before it gets worse. Thanks so much, Cara <Bettas are prone to tumors, not a lot you can do about it. They can live a long full life with them, or they can be fatal. I can't be sure if his lack of energy is related to the lump or not. But I would move out the Pleco. They produce tons of ammonia, (as much as a decaying snail!) which could be the problem here. Try a few 50% daily water changes and see if he picks up. All Plecos get far too large for a 2.5 gallon tank. The Common Pleco can hit 18 inches! Not fair to either fish to keep them together in such a small tank. The Betta alone is fine. Upgrade to a five or ten gallon and you could add a few Corys. Don   

Aging Betta - II - 04/15/2005 Dear Sabrina ! <Hello, Cheryl! Delighted to hear from you.> I meant to get this email off to you days ago! <No worries - I've actually been very busy with a new job.> I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to get back with me and addressing all my questions and concerns. You are awesome!! incredibly kind!! and extremely knowledgeable!!  <WOW. Thank you VERY much for your kind words, Cheryl. Messages like this really, really make our day!> Your information has been so helpful to me and you have also helped in easing my mind! Sushi continues to hang in there. I have lowered his water level a bit to make it easier for him to swim up for his food. <An excellent plan, indeed.> I will continue with my routine and thank you for the suggestion with regard to the bloodworms. It truly is amazing how you can become so attached to these little guys! Again Sabrina, thank you for being so thoughtful and caring! I truly, truly appreciate it!! <And thank you, again, for your immeasurably kind words, that really means a lot to me. Thank you.> Best regards to you! <And to you, and to Sushi.> Sincerely, Cheryl <Wishing you and your scaly pal well, -Sabrina> 

Betta accident! I was transporting my tank back to my apt after a vacation (my mom took care of Tex for me) and the bag got a little wet and the tank fell and cracked in half and Tex and water went everywhere. Tex is a long fin/veil tail type. He was lying in a little water and we got him in room temperature (but untreated) water in about 30 seconds. I got some water to the right temp and treated it with Betta plus bowl conditioner and put him in about a half gallon vase with some glass stones.  He's usually really healthy and tough and has always been fine when we use the tap water at about 70 degrees, treated with this conditioner. He seems to be in shock a little and is sitting low in the vase. In addition, his fins seem to have suffered a bit of trauma. I have seen a few strands that have turned brown (like, immediately they lost their beautiful blue color) float up to the surface and there is a tear in his back fin that is turning the same brownish color. Should I get a fin medicine to treat this? <I would use simple non-iodized salt at this point... a level teaspoon per five gallons/equivalent> I don't believe it is fin rot but will the same medicine help him with this trauma? I'm so upset--I am afraid to get extra special products to treat the new water because I don't want to change what he's used to. Would warming the water a few degrees help? Just tender care? <Mostly the latter... but raising the temperature and keeping it steady in the low 80's F. would likely be of benefit> Thanks so much. Distraught Betta Parent, Vicki <Good descriptions... and these trauma/accidents do happen quite often with Bettas... and they survive, re-grow their fins, re-color... Keep the faith. Bob Fenner> 

You say half-moon, I say Betta? Hi there, I've got a half-moon, he's in a tank around.. 500ml of water. The water seems to be fine, and I change the water once every week. These days, he seems to be weak? or something, all he does now is go up, and takes a breathe of air, and just go down, and lay there. While his laying, he'll slip onto his side, and he just doesn't move much, is there anything wrong with him? <Sounds like it... maybe some aspect of water quality...> There's also this other question I'm wondering, I just realized it today, like, at the end of his tail, there seems to be a little bit of red stuff, it's on the edge of his back tail, and a little bit on his bottom tail as well, his that some sort of disease? Thank you <Likely not... red is a dominant color that is hard to "breed out" of Bettas. Please read here re their care: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm. Scroll down to the Betta articles and FAQs files, read. Bob Fenner> 

Betta with Popeye Hi, My name is Tanya and I've had my beta fish for almost two years now. Just yesterday, I noticed that his eye was swollen, so I looked it up online and figured that he had Popeye. I keep him in a little tank that I bought at the pet store and inside the tank I have gravel and a small plant. Before noticing his Popeye, I would change his water weekly, and lately I've been noticing a decrease in activity, his belly is swollen ( but I think it's from feeding him too much).  I've been feeding him 6-10 pellets daily. I ran to the pet store and bought tetracycline and have started to treat him with it. How long does it take for the tetracycline to start working? How long will it take to heal his Popeye? Should I use Epsom salt? How much should I use? You're site has been very helpful to me, I've learned things that I should have known a lot earlier. If you could please respond as soon as possible, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm not sure if there's anything else wrong with him?? I pray not, I love him dearly. Thank you for all your help. Tanya <I would add the Epsom salt. Normal dose would be about one tbls per five gallons of water. This will help with the swelling. Popeye is usually caused by poor water conditions. And the tetracycline will kill off the good bacteria in the tank, so conditions are about to get worse. But since it's already in there I would continue with the full course as per package instructions. However I would also do more water changes, replacing the Epsom salt and med with each. A test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate would be a wise investment. You should test whenever you treat. Don> 

Re: Betta mysteriously ill Hello again, <Greetings> Thank you for your reply regarding my sick Betta. To clarify, I added the Aquarisol only after he became noticeably ill. I appreciate your help and suggestions, but I regret to report that he died of what appeared to be rather violent seizures early yesterday. I don't know that there's anything else that could have been done for him, as this might have been a neurological/physiological issue from the get go, but I nonetheless am grateful to have had your website as an available resource. Take care, Brianna <... I don't know the root cause here, but will repeat myself... I would NOT use copper products like Aquarisol on Bettas. Malachite yes, copper no. Bob Fenner>

Sick Betta Hi My Betta Sid has a white furry growth on the back of his body, we has noticed he keeps laying down like he is dying HELP!!! CHEERS Jo <Quick like a bunny read up on Betta Disease: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the Related files above. Bob Fenner>

Another Sick Betta My Grandma's Betta looks like it has cotton growing out of his gills and it looks very painful. What disease is this and is it treatable? She says he has been like that for about a week now. Is it already too late? <Not too late if it's still alive and you're able to read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm and the Related links above. Bob Fenner>

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

Strange fin rot? Hello, I have recently purchased my first fish, a Betta. I had a one gallon bowl for him and after doing some research, I decided that a larger tank would probably be a better container to keep him in therefore I got a ten gallon tank. After setting up the tank, heater (it stays 78-79 degrees) and filter, I let it run for a couple days, doing small water exchanges from tank to tank attempting to acclimate my Betta. after the tank had run for a couple days, I floated the Betta to stabilize the temperature and added him to his new home. A new problem soon developed, in the new tank, my Betta's tail began becoming transparent. It does not appear torn in any way, nor is there any discoloration other than the transparency. The clear area is visibly growing. I believe it may be caused by the cycling of the tank, <Me too...> a process I heard would be relatively easy for a fish as hardy as a Betta. <Mmm, not always> The nitrites and nitrates are undetectable; however, the ammonia over the past few days is somewhere between one and two and a half ppm, <More than 1.0 ppm is deadly toxic> if I had to guess I would estimate it is close to a two (the colors of the card I am comparing it to are relatively widely-spaced). I have been changing a gallon of water every day to try to reduce the stress the cycle is putting on him after his fin started changing. The water is dechlorinated and everything, I was just wondering if you thought this was indeed fin rot, or if it was environmental. Would adding some aquarium salt help? I hope I have provided enough information. I have found a great deal of information on your site that has answered most of my questions already, thank you for this great reference source. <May be fin rot... but root cause? Not bacterial, but environmental... please read here re cycling: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm and elsewhere on WWM re Betta Disease. Bob Fenner>

Betta With Popeye We have a Beta Fish that for some reason that we cannot determine the left eye of the fish has swollen up to a very large size. Is there anything that we can do to remedy this situation. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Sincerely Randy Roller <There is a bacterial infection behind the eyeball. The bacteria has generated a gas that is forcing the eye out and away from the fishes head. The bacteria can be treated by improving the overall water quality of the tank and treating with Metronidazole as per the directions on the package.-Chuck>

Betta, another fin rot question Hi. My Betta (Flash) has been having a problem with fin rot ever since we got him at Christmas. I followed all the advice you gave but he is still having trouble. He is in a 5 gallon cycled tank with heater and sponge filter. I just put him back in his tank after having removed him for a second time to treat in a 2 ½ gallon tank with Spectrogram. I can't leave him in the hospital tank very long because the ammonia levels rise so quickly even with daily water changes. He completely 6 days of treatment. There was no more visible tears and the ones he had seemed to be growing back. Yesterday I put him back in his tank and tonight there are more tears and pieces of fins missing!!! I'm so frustrated. <I wonder what it is about the larger tank...? Is there another animal terrorizing your Betta? Do you have a Chinese algae eater?> This was the first time his behavior seemed unusual. He didn't come to the top to eat. In fact he looked dead at the bottom. If it wasn't for a slight movement of his gills I would have thought he was dead. Even when I moved my hand next to the tank, he didn't budge. Finally he started to move a round a bit and got some air. Would you treat again with antibiotics? I already have used Betta Remedy, TriSulfa, Tetracycline, and two rounds of Spectrogram. <I might switch to/try BettaMax> Is he incurable??? The box of Spectrogram says it won't kill the biological filter but I thought all antibiotics killed off the good bacteria as well. <Not true... only some do> Should I add another round to his cycled tank? Please help!!. Ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, nitrate is 10-15, and Ph is at 7.4. The Ph of my tap water is 7.0 so I don't know what keeps making this rise in his tank. <A calcareous rock, gravel... a decor item perhaps... this may be a very important clue, cause of your trouble here> I thought I read something about foods with antibiotics in them. Could that be necessary? I am just stumped and completely exhausted from one little Betta fish. We haven't been able to enjoy him at all, it's just been work, work and more work, with no payoff.  Kim L. <Kim, do look for the source of alkalinity and remove it... treat with salt, perhaps the BettaMax... keep the faith my friend. Bob Fenner>

Persistent Fin Rot On Betta, Sabrina's Take - 04/01/2005 Hi.  <Hello. Sabrina with you, today.> My Betta (Flash) has been having a problem with fin rot ever since we got him at Christmas. I followed all the advice you gave but he is still having trouble.  <I'm sorry to hear this; I hope we can help.> He is in a 5 gallon cycled tank with heater and sponge filter. I just put him back in his tank after having removed him for a second time to treat in a 2 ½ gallon tank with Spectrogram. I can't leave him in the hospital tank very long because the ammonia levels rise so quickly even with daily water changes.  <Daily water changes should easily handle ammonia and nitrite - also, when you did these water changes, did you compensate by adding back in the amount of medication removed from the water change?> He completed 6 days of treatment. There was no more visible tears and the ones he had seemed to be growing back. Yesterday I put him back in his tank and tonight there are more tears and pieces of fins missing!!! I'm so frustrated.  <I can imagine. For this to have happened so very suddenly (fin rot, bacterial or otherwise, usually takes a long time to damage fins that dramatically), either you've got a particularly virulent case of bacterial fin rot, or there's something else at play.> This was the first time his behavior seemed unusual. He didn't come to the top to eat. In fact he looked dead at the bottom. If it wasn't for a slight movement of his gills I would have thought he was dead. Even when I moved my hand next to the tank, he didn't budge. Finally he started to move a round a bit and got some air. Would you treat again with antibiotics? I already have used Betta Remedy, TriSulfa, Tetracycline, and two rounds of Spectrogram.  <Quite a battalion of drugs.... how much time was spent with each medication? And again, when you changed water, did you compensate by adding back in the amount of medication removed?> Is he incurable???  <Gosh, I hope not.> The box of Spectrogram says it won't kill the biological filter but I thought all antibiotics killed off the good bacteria as well.  <Mm, no, not all of them. In fact, the actual dosages of Kanamycin sulfate and Nitrofurazone in Spectrogram are so low, that's probably why they don't affect the nitrifying bacteria. I have had very good luck using Spectrogram against many bacterial complaints, and never really saw an appreciable effect on the nitrogen cycle.> Should I add another round to his cycled tank?  <If there are no other fish in with him, and if you are prepared to do some water changes if you see an increase in ammonia, then in this case, yes, that is what I would do. Otherwise, it might actually be better if you tried feeding with antibacterial food. More on that in a bit....> Please help!! Ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, nitrate is 10-15, and Ph is at 7.4. The pH of my tap water is 7.0 so I don\u2019t know what keeps making this rise in his tank.  <This is a clue. Might possibly have something to do with his problems. Are there any shells, limestone rock, or other calcareous substances in the tank? What kind of substrate are you using? Substrates like aragonite sand and crushed coral (or "Puka" shells) will also increase the pH.> I thought I read something about foods with antibiotics in them. Could that be necessary?  <It may indeed be easier, and more effective, to treat with antibacterial foods. I would try to find flakes with Oxytetracycline (might look at http://www.flguppiesplus ), but I know you can find medicated pellet foods at PetSmart stores (and, I'm sure, other stores) - made by Jungle Labs, called "Anti-Bacteria Medicated Fish Food". This contains Sodium Sulfathiazole and Nitrofurazone.... I don't feel that this would be as effective as Oxytetracycline flake, but all the same, it might do the trick. If you use the Jungle food, I would go ahead with another round of Spectrogram, as well, as it sounds like you haven't much to lose at this point. I would NOT do the Spectrogram if you are able to get a hold of Oxytetracycline medicated flakes.> I am just stumped and completely exhausted from one little Betta fish. We haven't been able to enjoy him at all, it's just been work, work and more work, with no payoff.  <Fish are certainly work, but should not be this much work - not by far. This is not the first time I've heard of a Betta with a terribly virulent case of fin rot. I fear that this may be due, in part, to the decreasing genetic quality of the fish from extensive selective breeding.... Sure wish I knew with a certainty, and I sure wish I had a 100% certain fix for you, but I don't. I will definitely cross my fingers and hope that your fellah pulls through and regains his health. I know it is not fun at all to have an animal that is suffering.> Kim L. <Wishing you and your Betta the best, -Sabrina> Hi again, Kim. Through some difficulty in sending my last email to you, I found that Bob had responded, as well. I do agree with him. The BettaMax may indeed be a great shot, as it is so easy to dose in smaller tanks. This might clear up any confusion or inaccurate dosing with the Spectrogram or other drugs you've tried; inaccurate dosing might be part of the problem, especially when dealing with daily water changes.... Just some thoughts. -Sabrina 

Aging Betta Dear Robert, <Hi, Cheryl! Bob's out of the country at the moment, so you're stuck with crewmember Sabrina today - hope I can be of service to you!> I was given a Betta in a bowl with the live plant as a gift ( which was popular about five or six years ago).  <Mm, I do recall these. I have always stood firm that, when properly maintained, these can be excellent homes for Betta's - a lot of folks do disagree with that, but I think your fish shows just how great such a setup can be....> I thought that if I was fortunate, I might have the Betta for perhaps 6 months, well we are now on 5-1/2 years! I have had to replace the plant where others may have had to replace the Betta! <Very, very impressive, nowadays. I recall about a decade ago when I lost a Betta that had been with me for over five years, but Betta's now just don't seem to be what they used to be. I would say that three years is about the norm, now, provided that you start with an ultimately healthy Betta, which is also getting hard to come by.... I fear that extensive selective inbreeding has really damaged the genetics and longevity of these animals. Sigh.> Needless to say over the years I have become very attached to my Betta "Sushi". I have fed him only the shrimp pellets all these years, 4 pellets in the morning and 4 pellets in the evening, and have used Arrowhead drinking water all these years, and keeping his bowl clean and the plant healthy. I have always mixed some of his old water with any new water that I introduced to his bowl.  <Though there are things I would have done differently, you're obviously doing something quite right! At this point, I would not change any of your habits - "if it isn't broken, don't fix it", as it were.> I realize now after reading your information, that Sushi is really pushing the lifespan of a Betta!  <Indeed. The friend that gave you this fish either has a good eye for a healthy fish, or a great deal of luck!> He is slowing down a bit and spending more time at the bottom of the bowl, but does swim up to the surface and comes up to be fed.  <Pretty much to be expected, for a geriatric Betta.> This behavior has been happening for about the past three weeks or so. When he does come up to the top he seems strong, but it appears that his back end is going out on him and he has trouble keeping horizontal. He will place himself in the roots of the plants to keep himself horizontal, otherwise his front ends starts to float upward.  <Perhaps a condition with the swim bladder - I have seen many such cases in older Betta's.> I am wondering if there is anything I can do for him in addition to what I am already doing.  <I would urge you to do exactly as you have been doing - again, you're obviously doing something right!> Do you think his current behavior is a part of the aging process for a Betta?  <Mm, essentially, yes. As fish (any fish, not just Betta's) get quite old, their immune systems weaken, and organs can start to have problems - just like in a cat or dog or person. It is not at all uncommon to see symptoms like you describe in an old fish. At this point, pride yourself in having done a wonderful job in caring for Sushi, and continue to care for him as you have. He may yet have several months to play with.> After reading some of your information, I feel I should have been doing more for him over the years. I was not aware of nitrates or feeding anything other than the pellets.  <Again, there are things I would have done differently (more varied diet, different water, etc.), but it is quite obvious that you have done an excellent job with this fish. Again, I urge you not to change your habits at this point, just rest assured that you have done very well by your fishy friend.> Any information or suggestions you have would really be appreciated!! <If you want to do something a little extra for his diet, just to "perk him up" a bit, you could offer him a couple frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms from time to time (can get these at most fish stores), or even collect a couple small live mosquito larvae for him from a clean container (can just set a wide, low bucket on your back porch for a few days, in a place where no herbicides or insecticides can get in from your or your neighbors' gardens). Remember to feed less of his other food if you do this. You could offer him these "treats" a couple times a week, perhaps. There is a possibility that his buoyancy issue is related to an internal bacterial infection, but I urge strongly against trying to medicate such a condition, especially in such an old fish. Medicating at this point would cause more harm than good, I fear. And again, Cheryl, you have obviously given this fish fantastic care - don't change anything that you're doing for his maintenance. Just keep doing as you have been, and a great big "Kudos!" to you for your success with this fish!> Thank you for your time and consideration! <Any time.> Sincerely, Cheryl <My best wishes for you and Sushi, -Sabrina>

My Betta Hello <Hi there> I e-mailed you before with a question. My last Betta died of some "unknown" disease that I think is fungus or bacteria. I have a new one for a couple weeks and today it is starting to show the same signs my last one did right before it died. I have been using BettaFix and putting aquarium salt in the tank. I have a Tronic heater. I think it may be on its last leg :( What should I do? Can I help it? If it dies how should I clean my tank so the next one I get won't get it (I didn't change the water before and I think this is why my new Betta got sick). How should I sterilize the tank? Thank you for your help. <Ahh, all these questions and some that you will soon have are covered on our site... Please begin by reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm  and on to the Related FAQs (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

Bloated Betta Poofster Follow-up I had sent you pictures & details of a blue fish with fin rot (fine now) and a red fish with constipation or bloat (or are those the same thing). <Bloat is an internal bacterial infection. Constipation is a blockage of organic matter in the gut.> I've been putting salt in its water and fasting it.. and it was doing fine.. belly going down... it had went fully down today.. so I thought it was safe to feed it...right as it ate the bloodworms it poofed right back up. I'm not sure how to get this to go away without starving my fish -Ali < Depending on the fish, feeding bloodworms is not good for all fish. I would recommend pellets or flake food with an occasional light feeding of bloodworms if at all.-Chuck>

Bettas in need Follow-up for a Friend? ALSO, my friend also bought a Betta and has him in the same set up I do. He got his from Wal-Mart. While his fish is much friskier, it has also not eaten. He has only tried with the pellets. We both just have them in glass bowls with marbles at the bottom. I used the same ones for my other Betta, Mug, who lived for 2 years. Also, he is on city water and I am on well water. What is up? <<Well number one, as much as I know saving poor looking fish seems to be the right thing to do, by letting them die, the LFS loses money and maybe learns something. The Bettas that are sick should not be bought. And adding the formalin and salt was more than enough to kill the sick and stressed guy. Please never add meds to any fish tank unless you know for sure that that fish is sick with a visible problem or you know exactly what it is. As for the water, city water is purified with other items than your well water, your well might have metals or chlorine used which can be toxic to fish. RO is reverse osmosis, water it is a process of stripping the water so its very pure. DI water is distilled water for the same reason and result. Most LFSs have them for sale and or your local grocer might as well. I would try again if you want and only buy healthy specimens that seem very active and not always gasping for air or in very dirty water. Try another LFS or even ::shudder:: Wal-Mart if you must. Please dont try to save sick fish; in the long run it only hurts you. And do not add anything into their water unless you can visibly see a problem. Anything in the water is very hard to know if its the right dosage or too much and fish dont need meds that treat for sicknesses they dont have, it simply stresses them more. I am once again very sorry for your loss.>> <Justin (Jager)> 
Bettas in need Follow-up for a Friend Again
Justin <Hello Again>  Thanks so much for your advice about Betta care. I know I shouldn't have bought the Bettas where I did (Petcetera... terrible fish care!!!) but I couldn't resist trying to help them. <Yes it is hard to keep walking, but in the end only the dollar forces stores to change things.>  As for my future Bettas, I will definitely stick to the good LFS in town (Pet Paradise). I think I OD'd on the meds because I knew it was pretty hopeless to begin with and I was desperate to have something save him. <I understand but at that point it is best to let clean water and a good home do their work first and see if anything develops.>  I have reverse osmosis water at home and will definitely be using that in the future. I can't believe that you don't need water conditioner in Betta bowls! I guess the people at the naughty LFS were just trying to sell me something. <Well for most people, tap water is used, so a conditioner does or can make sense. However it is a way to make more money. Can you return the dead fish under any guarantee? At least get credit or your money back? > Thanks again. You were very helpful :) <No problem, it is what we are here for. I have had Bettas and know that they are very personable creatures and do recognize owners. I hope your next endeavor goes better. And please support your LFSs that do care for the fish, the loss of money is all that the stores understand. If you have other questions feel free to email us back or post in the forums, my forum name is Jager if you need my help.> ~Kristin <Justin (Jager)>

More Betta Trouble <Hello> I recently purchased 2 male Bettas and am keeping them in 2 bowls, ~1/2 gallon each. I have a 65 gallon community tank as well as a 20 gallon "semi-aggressive" tank and have been keeping fish for 6 years so I know the basics. I had a pet Betta previously and Mug Costanza lived for 2 years. It's been a week, and my Bettas have not eaten, stay at the top or bottom (each has a preference), and take breaths of air very frequently. <Hmm a good sign of stress Bettas breathe fairly slowly, is it gulping a lot?> Just now, Fugly (the guy who liked the bottom) violently went up for air and then dropped dead. I don't know what to do! <Wow, rarely see them do that...>  My surviving Betta (Puss) does not seem happy and he has to be getting awfully hungry by now. <Is he not eating then? or are you not feeding it?>  When I first introduced the Bettas to the bowls I used Splendid Betta "complete water conditioner", a drop of Quick Cure, and a dash of aquarium salt in each tank. I changed the water once, and continued with the salt and water conditioner. Neither fish showed signs of fungus, Ich, velvet, or other disease. WHAT HAPPENED? <Why the quick cure? that is formalin and is very harmful to fish in incorrect dosages and is used in ten gallon increments usually. That is a killer right there.. Also why the salt? Bettas are freshwater creatures and adding salt does only stress them and force them to cope with something else in the water... As for the water conditioner is your tap water poor quality? why use that conditioner? I would use standard RO/di water, and lay off adding things to the water.> Please help....I think I am running out of time for poor Puss. Kristin <Also please test your Bettas water to see if the ammonia is very high or any other chemicals. Your LFS can help if you cannot test yourself. Hope that helps.> <Justin (Jager)>

POPEYE ON BETTA Hello, I'm 14 and have had a fish tank for 4 months, the last water check I had the water was fine. I got a Siamese fighter a week ago it seemed fine, it sometimes chased the Gouramis but other than that there have been no problems until this morning when I woke up it had one swollen eye and was making a lot of bubbles at the top of the tank, does it have pop eye? How can I treat it, my hospital tank is occupied by guppy fry. Please help! Ellie < Popeye is an internal bacterial infection behind the eye ball. As the bacteria reproduce they generate a gas that pushes on the eye ball itself. Treat the tank with Metronidazole and follow the directions on the package. The bubble nest is a normal behavior for a male Betta.-Chuck.>

SICK BETTA Thank you for your quick response. Raffy is swimming much more this evening (about 36 hours after putting him in a vase of BettaMax.) The edges of his fins are falling off. He is still not eating anything but I suspect by tomorrow he may try. When should I put him back into the tank?  < When he is cured.> I assume that if his fin problem is aging or bad nutrition that he will not be contagious to Ramero? <If it is fin rot caused by bacteria then he may still be contagious.> I have freeze dried blood worms so I will make more of an effort to supplement. The tank does not have a heater but there is a 15 watt light that we keep on constantly. Will that heat effectively, we are in Dallas Texas and the warm weather has arrived? < Get a thermometer and measure the water temp. At 80 degrees F the fish are actually quite disease resistant. The lower the water temp the more prone to disease they become.> Is spring water okay to use? <If you mean bottled water then this is usually fine.> With my very first Beta (he died) I started using spring water and after advice from someone in a pet store I used tap water the next water change along with an additive that I bought from the Beta section.. The fish died a few days later. I blamed it on a combination of changing to tap water and probably had it too warm. Does aquarium and Epsom salt provide the same results? < Salt makes the fish generate a protective slime that help against external parasites.> Sorry for all of the questions, it is so nice to have a place to get advice vs. trial and error when the life of the poor little creatures are at stake. Thank you so much for taking the time. Amy < Try to make an effort to keep him warm.-Chuck>

Betta Fin Rot Hi. I am more confused than ever after Jorie responded to my last question. The advice given was to do 50% water changes a day and test the water parameters twice a day until under control. I was told it was good that ammonia and nitrites were 0 but nitrates must be eliminated and then the fin rot would likely clear itself. I am so confused how my water conditions are considered bad. He is in a 5 gallon with sponge filter and heater set at 78-80 degrees. I spent more than a month doing fishless cycling to get the water at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 10-15 nitrates. I thought the whole idea of doing this was so that I don't have to do daily water changes. If I get rid of all the nitrates as suggested, what will keep the ammonia and nitrites down? I've spent hours and hours reading on this, and your recent advice seems to go against everything I've learned. What am I missing? I thought I was supposed to aim for nitrates of less than 20 and change the water when they got above that. My question is why three rounds of antibiotics, Tri-sulfa, Tetracycline, and as you recommended Spectrogram hasn't helped? Is it hopeless? Spectrogram seemed to work in the hospital tank but after a few days in his regular cycled tank the fin started to rot again. I know the fin rot may have originally been due to poor water conditions in his first uncycled tank or from the pet store but why do you consider his current conditions to be poor. Also, to repeat, Betta remedy fix also had no effect and I have been adding aquarium salt (1 tsp. per gallon) into his tank. I even put a live plant like you suggested, Anacharis and java fern. The Anacharis keeps dying but the java fern is fine. Any ideas why? Please help. Kim <Hi Kim, Don here. You missed nothing at all. In fact I see nothing wrong with your set up or water conditions. That's assuming all the treatments were given in the hospital tank and not your cycled five gallon. Which would no longer be a cycled five gallon. There are two courses you could try here. The first is do nothing. Just water changes to keep the nitrates below 20ppm (replace the salt). You have him in very good conditions so there is a good chance he can fight this off himself. The other course is to put him back in the hospital tank and treat with the Spectrogram again. Make sure you run the full course as per package directions. Then keep him in there for another week or two. A full QT is 30 healthy days before adding to your main. But since he is your only fish a few weeks should do. Give a second treatment if needed. Although I doubt this is your problem, you may want to test your tap water for ammonia after treatment. It is normal to see a trace to .25 if your water has Chloramine added to it. Normally your bio filtration would handle this along with the ammonia produced by your fish. But if your ammonia reading is any higher you may be burning his fins with the large water changes. Also test the tank and tap for pH. Bettas can adapt to a wide range of pH, but if you are at the high or low end of the scale it may be a factor.> 

Illness of my male Betta Hi, I have a male Betta (Raffy) that has been with my husband and I for 13 months. My son gave him to me for Valentines day 2004 (from Wal-Mart). I kept him in a gallon vase for most to the year, a few months ago he seemed to become "depressed", not eating as enthusiastically and just floating around vs. swimming. The edges of his top fin looked like silk that had been melted slightly. So, I thought he needed more room and a fungal treatment. Moved him to a 1.5 - 2 gallon vase and treated the water with BettaMax. Did not help.  Then someone I work with who has a Betta bought a great 3 gal. Betta aquarium with a bubble filter and divider. She added another male for a companion. Her older fish, who was acting similar to Raffy, became a new vibrant, happy fish. So I did the same and wala! Raffy rebounded, however, did not eat for about a week. I think he was too busy showing off for his new friend Ramero.  I use Ozarka spring water for 100% water changes faithfully every week. They eat Wardley Betta premium food pellets. Ramero cannot get enough to eat it seems and Raffy began eating a couple of pellets once or twice a day.  All seemed well until a couple of days ago. I noticed that Raffy was slowing down and spending a lot more time laying on the rocks or under the leaves of his plastic plant. I also noticed a small dark spot in the middle of his back fin. Yesterday when I got home he had dug himself quite deeply into a hole in the rocks under a leaf and his coloring was very pale. <Bad signs> He is a bright orange color normally but now almost transparent. His fins are very transparent and have little pin holes all over. I immediately removed him from the tank as not to infect Ramero if something contagious is going on and into a vase with BettaMax. He is just laying on the bottom of the vase, comes up only occasionally for air and will not eat. I feel so sorry for him in there all by himself and sick. After reading so many of your articles now I am very confused as what to do. I have had them in the aquarium for about four weeks. Does the little tube like filter in the bubbler need changing, if so, how often? <No need to change this> Any advice would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you for providing a place to come for solutions. Amy <The clearing at the edges of fins, pin holes... are signs of "aging", and possibly poor nutrition, environmental stress... I take it the fish are now in a heated system... I would definitely try augmenting their diet (not just feed dry pellets) with dried, freeze-dried or frozen/defrosted mouth-size meaty foods (Daphnia, Bloodworms, Tubifex...). Otherwise, the tried and true trick of adding the equivalent of a level teaspoon of Epsom Salt per ten gallons may effect a cure. Bob Fenner> 

Sick Betta won't eat Dear Crew: <Karl> I keep a Betta in my office in a filtered one-gallon tank. <And heated I hope/trust> A month ago there was a heater failure and the office temperature apparently dropped to the low 60s or upper 50s. Ordinarily, the temperatures range from the low 70s in the morning to upper 70s in the afternoon. I don't have a tank thermometer. The night after the heater failed, I found the Betta floating on its side at the top of the tank. To my surprise, it was still alive. For the next week it continued to act this way. At one point there was some white mucus coming from its gills. I treated the Betta with a few gentle water changes, extra salt and a fish product that reportedly increases slime coating of fish (contains polyvinyl pyrolidone and organic hydrocolloids). <To other readers, this is a common ingredient in "bandage" inclusive water conditioners like Novaqua, Amquel, StressCoat...> After another week or so, the fish began swimming normally but still wouldn't eat. I wasn't concerned at first, but now it has been a full month and it still isn't eating. The fish is almost two years old. How long can he go without eating? <This is about it> And what should I be doing to help? Thank you for your efforts in answering our questions and maintaining your web site. Karl Wiedemann <Good point, chance to bring up a principal difference in warm-blooded animals, like ourselves and dogs, cats... and fishes that are not homeothermic... They're much slower to react to adverse environmental influences... I would try raising the temperature (with... a small heater?), and offering either some live food or frozen/defrosted meaty foods... Mysids, Daphnia, Brine Shrimp, Blood or Glass worms... Bob Fenner> 

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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