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FAQs on Betta Diseases 1

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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,

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Fungus Among us! - 08/19/2004 Hello and thanks for your time today, <Hello, and thanks for writing in.> I have a 5G planted, cycled tank with Eco-Complete substrate.  I had an aquarium shop statue in there and noticed a white furry fungus like thing growing on the back of it near the substrate.  I took it out and cleaned it off.  I haven't put it back in but now I can see the white stuff growing around the suction cup of the thermometer.  There are also patches of it on the gravel.   <My first best guess here is that this is bacterial or fungal growth, most likely from uneaten food that hasn't been removed.> I have one male Betta in the tank and he has fin rot.  I am treating with Maracyn-2 (4th day of treatment) for the bacteria, and Maracide for potential parasites because he was rubbing along the bottom of the tank a lot even though I can't see any Ich or other spots.   <I would not treat with an anti-parasitic med unless you are quite confidant that you have parasites, then determine what type of parasite you're dealing with.  Also try to eliminate other possibilities that may have caused irritation to the fish - do ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels check out okay?  Any big changes in pH?  There are a lot of things that can make a fish scratch/rub aside from parasitic infestation.> He doesn't seem to be getting much better though.   <Keep going with the Minocycline/Maracyn II for the full treatment, now that you've started it.  If it has absolutely no effect at the end of treatment, I would switch to Kanamycin sulfate ("Kanacyn", "Kanaplex", or "Spectrogram" which includes Nitrofurazone, as well), Oxytetracycline ("Oxytetracycline", "Oxymanna"), or tetracycline.  Other options as well, for sure, but these are my favorites.> What is this fungus stuff?   <Again, likely a fungus/bacteria/mold from uneaten food.> Is it dangerous?   <Mm, potentially, but very, very unlikely.> Is it harming my fish?   <I seriously doubt it.> Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are zero, <Ahhh, that's good to hear.> pH is 8.2 which is a bit high I know, but that's my tap water unfortunately. <High, indeed.  Is it constantly/consistently that high?  One breeder I know had horrible fin and disease issues with her fish when her tap was above 8.0 - I really think this fish would benefit from a bit lower pH, if you can establish AND MAINTAIN a lower pH - a pH rollercoaster is the last thing you want, though; constant is better than precise.> I have seen this white fungusy stuff before on a piece of wood that I have in another tank and when I introduced Amano shrimp they cleaned it off which makes me think it can't be toxic.   <Agreed.> I just wondered if I need an anti-fungal in there as well.   <Certainly not.  Just manually remove it, and be sure to remove uneaten food and siphon out feces.> I don't want to over-load the poor guy with too many meds.   <Indeed.> He is eating just fine and is active.   <Certainly good news.> I've only had him since last Thursday, he came to me with tears in his fins, (bought him from a breeder) which is where the fin-rot started I guess. <Eh, this could also explain the irritation, if he came from a lower pH.  And again, I've heard of Bettas having fin issues above a pH of 8.0 - not really sure if this is 100% accurate or reliable, but food for thought, at least.> I really hope someone knows what this white stuff is and how to help my poor Betta-boy!   <Have you considered putting a small piece of driftwood in with him to help drop the pH a bit?  If you do so, you'll want to be very cautious and slow about it.  You would also have to make water for him ahead of time, to bring it to the correct pH (perhaps also with driftwood or peat).> I just want his fins to stop shrinking!   <Me, too.> Thanks again for any help,   <You bet.> Maggie Masters <Wishing you and your bettahead well,  -Sabrina>

Constipated Betta Hello, <Hi Sandra, Sabrina here> Is there anyone there who could lend me some advice on my constipated Betta? I posted the situation on the forum board here, but would appreciate any expert help your crew could offer. <Well, since this email got put in my care, and I've already been communicating with you on the forums, I think you've pretty much got all I can tell you thus far.  For the benefit of our readers, though, and to have this archived for anyone else with similar issues to be able to search and find it, I am happy to go ahead and address this again - who knows, perhaps some tidbit that I forgot to mention on the thread will fall out of my head as I go.> Here is my post: <For reference, the thread can be found at:   http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/thread.jsp?forum=31&thread=15081&tstart=0&trange=15 .> I have a 1-year old male Betta who is constipated. I first noticed this last week and immediately recognized the signs, as we lost a Betta to constipation earlier this year. <I'm sorry to hear that.> I am very careful not to over-feed, and I vary the diet as much as possible, but somehow Bernie still managed to become constipated. <They are extremely easy to overfeed, with their humongous appetites and tiny little Betta tummies.  It may be possible that he's just plain fat - but the fact that your other Bettas aren't bloated probably disproves that.> Now he is swollen on his sides, and there is no poo in his tank. We have two other Bettas and they are both fine; the only thing I can think that might have caused this is that I was in mid-cycling of his tank and had not done any deep-cleaning on his gravel until a week or so ago. I'm wondering if he may have eaten bits of food that were stirred up when I cleaned his tank recently. <I'm sure that's possible, but I think it unlikely.  Fish can get constipated for no apparent reason, sometimes; it can happen when they eat too much at once, or are offered an inappropriate diet (probably the reason we see this so much in goldfish).> I don't want to lose another Betta to constipation; I had to watch as our first Betta suffered for several weeks and died a terrible death from it. I am resolved not to let him eat anything until I see improvement. <Fasting, along with offering *only* foods of high roughage content (bits of pea, adult brine shrimp, daphnia) should help clear him up, along with adding Epsom salt to the water at a rate of 1 to 2 tablespoons per ten gallons water - that comes down to about 1/3 to 2/3 of a teaspoon per gallon, or a touch more.  The Epsom salt will help relieve pressure in him, and may help him pass any blockage in his gut.> It is day 4 of fasting, and he is still pretty swollen. <Try the Epsom salt, and keep fasting him - he can go quite a long time without food.> I ordered Pepso food, which someone recommended to me because it contains cod liver oil. It should arrive today. <I don't think I'd use Pepso food, as it contains medicines that I think are quite unnecessary in your Betta's case.> I tried feeding him a bit of pea two days ago, but am nervous about it this since it seemed to make the constipation worse in Horatio (the Betta who died). <If the pea doesn't/didn't help, perhaps try a brine shrimp or two.  Your local fish store would probably give you a couple, as these are usually sold by the ounce - which is a *lot* of little shrimp.  I'd try the Epsom salt first, see how that goes.> Can anyone offer any other advice here? Am I correct in not feeding him for days or even weeks if necessary? This is bringing back awful memories, and I don't know what to do!!! <I don't think he could go more than a couple weeks without eating, and even that might be a stretch - but many days is fine.> I can't believe I'm going through this all over again; after Horatio died, I become almost obsessively careful about feeding, so I'm at a loss as to how this happened. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <As above, it can "just happen".  And again, Bettas are so easy to overfeed.  In any case, try the Epsom salt, and failing that, in another couple days or so, try offering him a brine shrimp or two, or a tiny bit of daphnia.> Sandra <Hope all goes well!  Wishing your Betta a speedy recovery,  -Sabrina>

Betta Losing Color Hi Mr. Fenner, <Ananda here tonight...> My husband and I are worried about our Betta fish, Max. Max is about a year old (at least when we bought him from Wal-Mart a year ago, the person there said that he was a baby at the time) and he has not been acting like his "normal" self. He is hanging around the top of his vase listlessly. He doesn't swim around like he once did, and the color on his once deep maroon body has faded to a silvery white.   <All the time?> We thought perhaps it was bacterial and gave him a quarter Maracyn tablet for five days, but this didn't seem to help.   <Maracyn does not work against all bacteria that can affect fish....> We noticed the problem began when we moved him from his large glass vase into a 1.5 gallon aquarium with filter. He seemed happy at first but a couple months down the road this odd behavior and color change began. We don't know if it's associated with the move to the new tank but expect it's probably not since he's back in his vase and still listless and colorless. <I would keep him in the bigger quarters. How often are you doing water changes? What are your ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH? What temperature is the tank kept at? Hard to know what's wrong without a bit more info.> Also, I read an FAQ area on your site that suggested treating the water when someone complained of a listless Betta and color change, but we do treat Max's water with Aqua Safe (3-4 drops in the vase) and he does eat Betta food. <You might also try a change of diet. I've noticed our Betta gets bored of the same old, same old food after a while.> I would be grateful for any help you can give us. <Some water quality info and a photo would help us help you....> Thank you in advance, Laura Bullock <Wish I could help more -- if you can get a photo, that would be great. --Ananda>

Pale Betta (11/01/03) Hi Ananda, Thank you so much for your reply. I'll answer your questions as best as I know how. <Okay.> Yes, Max floats around near the top of the vase all the time unless we turn the vase a bit; then, sometimes he swims but only for a few seconds. We have moved him to the big vase again (This was over a month ago.) but he is acting the same.   We change his water about once a week. I do not know the ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH, but I will buy a test kit and find out. The tank does not have a heater so the water is lukewarm from the tap when we change it and then is room temperature water for the rest of the duration until we clean the vase.   <Do try to keep the water you use for water changes the same temperature as the water he's in. That will be less stressful for him.> We will try new food as well. Any recommendations? <Hikari makes good stuff ("Betta Bio-gold"), plus a treat of bloodworms now and then (frozen bloodworms, thawed, give just a couple at a time). Marineland has a new one out called "BIO-blend"; I haven't used that one, but most of the rest of the stuff in that line is good.> I must say we were ignorant of the need to keep the water at a certain temperature. Our house maintains a temperature of between 68-78 degrees and we thought Max was fine in his vase. <That's an awfully big temperature swing for a fish. They're from tropical areas where their water temperature doesn't vary more than a degree or two over a day.> Is there an optimum water temperature for Bettas and also, do we need a heater for his vase? <Bettas do prefer warmer water -- we keep our Betta tank at 80 degrees. Hmmm. I'm beginning to wonder if Max is saying he doesn't like the cold....> One hears that all Bettas need is a clean vase, some pretty stones on the bottom, and food. The store personnel as well as some literature we have read about Bettas are very misleading, especially to the general public like us who don't know a lot about fish. <Yup. Generally, they want to sell you more Bettas.> I've attached a couple photos of Max. I must say it is difficult to take a photo of a fish! I hope these help. <Hmmm...they help rule out some possibilities, at least.> Thank you again for the information, and I look forward to hearing from you further. <I chatted with Sabrina, and we really can't make a definite diagnosis on Max. It could be a number of things, not all of which are treatable. On the other hand, it may be that a change of food, a heater, and better water quality may help. Do get those test kits. You might also want to check and make sure the AquaSafe neutralizes Chloramine as well as chlorine.> Laura P.S. I've copied this email to my husband at work so he can see what you've suggested and what I've written. He may have a little more insight.   <I haven't seen anything further, so I'll fire this off now. Let me know what those water parameters are when you get those test kits! --Ananda>
Pale Betta (11/02/03)  Dear Ananda,  Sad news to report here- Max went on to his next life this afternoon.  <Bummer. I was afraid his color change might be a sign of old age....>  This morning, I bought a 2 gallon aquarium with filter and a small heater that heated the water temperature gradually to 75 degrees and would've heated it to approximately 80 had Max lived.  <And now you have a great tank when you're ready to get a new fish.>  Before putting Max in, I treated the water with Aqua Safe as I've done in the past and made sure the water temperature was just about the same as his vase water temperature. I bought the Hikari pellets and we also had the bloodworms, which we tried to feed Max, but he just wouldn't eat.  He seemed paler and paler as I checked on him and monitored the aquarium's temperature every half hour or so. Last check I found him on the bottom of the tank floating vertically. Hopefully he'll have better luck in his next incarnation. We will miss him.  <Understandable.>  Thank you anyway for your suggestions and attentiveness. I truly appreciate your effort.  Laura  <You're quite welcome -- thank you for taking the time and energy to do the best you could for your fish. --Ananda> 

Max is Just Getting Maxed Out.. Thank you so much! I will email you with the test kit results. <Cool! Got some more info from a Betta breeder I know... she says that some Bettas are born pale-colored, develop color later, and then lose the color when they get older. If you're doing 100% water changes every week, she suggested you switch to 50% water changes twice a week. If you can't find the Hikari pellets, or if he won't eat them, she suggested Aqua-culture Betta Micro Pellet food. She suggested feeding him 50% frozen bloodworms and 50% Betta pellets. She says "If he is taking his food in, then spitting it out, taking it in, spitting it out, etc, then that's a sign that he's saying 'I can't eat hard foods easily any more'." She also suggested Hikari frozen brine shrimp (it's enriched with vitamins & stuff) as something Max might go nuts over. --Ananda>

Swollen.. um.. uh.. Hi. I have a question - my Betta, Pecker, is swollen if you see the pic attached.  I don't know when or how just one day I realized that he was hug like belly huge.  He doesn't have the fins sticking out as what other diseases as a pine cone.  I really don't know what to do. He's energetic and eating like crazy. He's as energetic as before.  I have two other Bettas around but I love all of them.  What can I do.  Pecker seems to be so okay and nice and totally not very sickly as I can see.   I believe it's constipation since there is maybe a feces that is trailing a bit from his bottom.  Aside from thawed pea-insides, what else can I give Pecker?  If I fast Pecker, for how long do I do it?  If I fast, that also means that I don't feed him the peas?   <Hi Cheryl, from the picture I would have to guess either constipation, or a tumor.  If it is tumor there is really no way to fix it, but they can still live a while.  If the other side is swollen as well I would say constipation, if one sided, possibly a tumor.  I would start by adding some Epsom salt to his water.  Mix up 1 gallon of water with your dechlorinator and 1/2teaspoon of Epsom salt.  Do partial water changes every couple days with this water.  Feed sparingly for a few days, maybe an adult brine shrimp or so a day. Feed some brine shrimp for a few days, they are not very nutritious, but good for cleaning out the pipes.  You can offer some bits of thawed peas if he will take them.  Some frozen bloodworms will be good when you are done with the brine, the other Bettas will appreciate them too, basically you want to avoid dry food for a while.  Let us know how it goes, Gage> Cheryl

Betta with pop-eye I think my Betta has Popeye in one eye. It is protruding and cloudy. <Sure sounds like pop-eye.> He lives in a 1.5 gallon hex tank and normally eats 5 pellets a day, 3 in the a.m. and 2 in the p.m. Last week he started staying on the bottom of the tank and not interested in eating. A few bays later I noticed what looks like Popeye in one eye. I treated the tank for 5 days with Maracyn 2 but his eye doesn't appear to be any better and he is still on the bottom of the tank and not eating. Last night I changed the water because the medication made the water very cloudy. I added some salt, complete Betta water treatment and 2 drops of Aquari-sol. Still no change. He will swim a little, come to the top but then he goes right back to the bottom. I don't know if I should try any more medication or what else to do. At the two local pet stores, one of the clerks said that Popeye is not treatable but at the other store the clerk told me to try penicillin since the Maracyn 2 didn't work. <My recommendation - first off, if you're not already, start testing your Betta's water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate - it's likely that one (or more) of these has led to his illness.  Next, keep that water pristine - use a good dechlorinator for your tapwater, and keep testing, and do water changes if any of the abovementioned values get out of whack.  In this case, for the pop-eye, I'd discontinue meds and instead, add Epsom salts to his tank at a rate of one tablespoon to five gallons.  In your 1.5g tank, that would be just a tiny bit less than one teaspoon.  Hopefully, you'll be seeing results soon.> I have had the Betta for 1 1/2 years. I hope you can help. <I hope so, too - good luck to you and your Betta.  -Sabrina> Thank you very much.  -Chris

Sick Betta pt. 2 Hi Ryan, <Hi again> Thank you so much for your response. <Surely> In answer to your question, I use regular tap water, treated with Proquatics water conditioner, which dechlorinates, detoxifies heavy metals & helps replace the slime coat. <Good> I use it in all my tanks ( I have 2 20 gallons also, 1 community and 1 semi-aggressive, and another 2.5 gallon with filter with 2 bumblebee goby's).  I feed my Betta Betta bites as that is all he will eat, I have tried frozen and freeze dried bloodworms, frozen brine shrimp, flakes, Tubifex worms, you name it I have probably tried it...and he won't eat any of it, he will only eat the Betta bites...he literally turns up his nose to anything else, I don't know what else I could give him to supplement his diet. <Well, you could give him a little "break."  Starve him for 2-3 days, see what he'll eat then.>  Is there anything that I could put in his water?? <I would not.  You're working with such a small volume here-it's so easy to pollute.> I hesitate to feed him live as I have heard it can transmit diseases, and it's hard for me to purchase live and harder for me to raise it myself. <And not necessary.> Any options you have would be appreciated. <Try fasting him a few days, see if some bloodworms do the trick> Thank you! Lianne Kitchen  

Bizarre eating habits....? Hey I came across your FAQ site when I was doing some research but still couldn't find an answer; hopefully you can help me! <We'll most certainly try.> I was really bad at feeding my Betta for the last month or so, and today when I checked, he ATE up most of his own tail! Can you believe it?   <Well, no ;)  I'm betting there's something else at play, rather than the Betta eating his own tail - did you actually *see* him eating it?  I think it far, far more likely that he's got a bacterial infection that's eroding his tail instead.  Most importantly, can you tell us any readings on your water?  Ammonia, pH, nitrite, nitrate?  Usually one or more of these being out of whack will result in fish getting sick.  How often do you do water changes?  Do you use a dechlorinator?  How large is his tank?  You mentioned that your were slack on feeding him for the last month or so - do you mean that you hadn't fed him in a month, or that you only fed him every now and then, or what?  If you can give us any of these details, we'll be so much more able to help you.> Now it just looks like a little fin instead of the gorgeous swirls....I am so sad.   <Is the fin edged in white?  Do you see any blood or other markings, etc.?  Definitely do a significant water change, using a good dechlorinator, and be sure to match the temperature of the water you put in to the temperature of the water he's in now.> I fell terrible about it.   <We all make mistakes.  The most important thing is that we learn from them and not make the same mistakes again.> Question is:  is this normal <Absolutely not.> and will it grow back?   <Hopefully.  If it is fin rot (I think it likely), it is curable, though advanced cases may prove fatal, or in some cases, the fin can be damaged to a point that it never grows back completely.  Whatever the deal, if he pulls through, it may take a very long time for it to grow back if it does.  Good luck  -Sabrina>

Betta eating tail? - probably fin rot Thank you - I can't believe how fast I got a reply...as to your comments, please see my detailed response below: I think you're right.  I didn't "see" him eating it.  :)  I think I just freaked out when I saw it and then made the "correlation" based on the fact that my fish has been starving for the past couple of weeks.  You asked about readings on water?  hmm.  how would I know that?  Was I supposed to get some other special equipment?   <A test kit that will allow you to test the water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH will definitely be a help - but you can also probably have your local fish store do water tests for you if ever something else is amiss.> In addition, I already changed the water so I wouldn't know anyway.   <Good job - please do keep his water clean, change some every week.> I think you made another good point:  the water quality for the past month must have been intolerable for my fish.   <This is actually probably the root of the problem.  Good water quality is very, very important.> Is using a "dechlorinator" essential?  I mean, I haven't used it all along and the fish seemed to be fine (I've had him for about half a year). <Yes, using a dechlorinator in your tapwater is quite essential.  Chlorine and Chloramine in our tapwater will really harm aquarium fish.  It can burn their gills, and is most definitely an irritant.  You can probably find a small container at your local fish store for very inexpensive, and I'm sure your Betta would thank you for it (and the water changes :D ) Yes, I fed him every now and then, like maybe twice a week at the max.  (yes I know, I promise I'll be better at it from now on). I looked at him closely, and his tail does look like the colors are lighter at the edges (it's a red fish).  Yeah, I guess you could say the edges are white.  What does that tell me? <This is very indicative of a bacterial infection; probably fin rot.> Can you explain fin rot?  Aside from changing water PROPERLY (temp, dechlorinator, regularly), do I need to get him medication?   <Very likely. But, depending on how big his tank is, it will be quite difficult to dose anything in there.  Kanamycin sulfate (one company sells this as "Kanacyn", and it's pretty easy to find) is an excellent treatment for fin rot.  How big is the tank that he's in?> and when you say that it'll take a "very" long time to grow back (if it does), how "long" do you mean? <Well, depending on the fish, his immune system, water quality, the extent of the damage, any other health factors - it could be days, weeks, even months - or it may not ever grow back completely, even though he may soon be restored to good health, with all due luck.> Lastly, again, THANK YOU (from me and my fish) for your timely response, Sabrina.  you guys ROCK!!!  :) <And a hearty thank you for the kind words!  Wishing your Betta a swift recovery,  -Sabrina>

Betta sitting Hi, I have been Betta sitting for a friend of mine. I have had fish and been a hobbyist for close to 30 years (not claiming to know everything here, that's why I love your site so much!).  I am, however, more of a saltwater fanatic, but will be setting up a tropical tank, since sitting the Bettas. Gotta say, I have fallen in love with them. <All to easy to do so!  A neat, simple fish, fun and easy to care for.> I am very worried about one of them  though. It is sulking, has not eaten in the 3 days since being here, while the other one is doing fantastic! Now when they were dropped off they were in tiny little plastic containers and the water was so disgusting I could not even see the poor little guys. <Ugh!!> After hollering at my friend about this, <Holler for me, too!> I changed their water and have moved them into their own larger Betta display tanks. I used Novaqua for the water change and for the move to the new tank set up and I did acclimate them to their new homes, slowly.   <Good job.> Have I done something wrong with the one? Why is he sulking? <Likely not anything you did/didn't do.  Bettas are virtually indestructible; he'd probably been sitting in a cup of fish waste for just too long to live through.> I have them nowhere near each other so they won't stress out seeing each other (I think that is cruel) Why is the one doing better than the other? <The other may simply be weaker, older, or for whatever reason, more sensitive to his previous horrible water conditions.> I cleaned the  tanks both the same, the rocks both the same, I did everything the same.  Any info would be of great help.   <My best info for you (well, your friend) would involve a baseball bat, so I'll just keep that to myself.  But as for all you've done, excellent job - and in light of your second email, you've done all you could do, I think.  -Sabrina> Thanks so much! Magic
Betta sitting - part two.
Hi, <Hello, again.> Sad news. The Betta I was worried about died. I just don't get it. I know I did everything right. Correct acclimation, correct water temp, dechlorinator, whole nine yards, plants extra, all cleaned properly.  Did both the lil guys the exact same.   <Sounds good.> Upon closer look after he passed I noticed a whitish coating on him, but did not see it a few hours ago.  I am thinking a bacterial infection perhaps? <Could be....  maybe fungus, velvet, excess skin slime from the uncountable irritation of his foul conditions before....> Weakened immune system from the disgusting water conditions he had been kept in prior to me getting him? <Undoubtedly at least a serious contributing factor> Stress? <Another contributor, I'm sure> But then there is the coating, and I have seen that before and it really looked bacterial to me. Ugh! <Ugh, indeed.  Well, perhaps he at least was a little more comfy than before.> Thank y'all for listening and Thank you for THE best website there could possibly be on the net.  Magic <And thank you for the kind words.  -Sabrina>
Betta sitting 3
Hi again, Sabrina,  Thank you so much for your input. <Hello again, and you're quite welcome, as always.> I tried my best to talk my friend in to letting me keep the surviving Betta, but he said for me to go and get my own. I told him that if I see that lil guy in even the slightest dirty water or any shape he should not be in (in other words, not being paid attention to, any kind of disease, poor coloring, poor nutrition, etc..) that I was taking him back and that is it! My friend agreed to that. He knows I will do it too. He did not like your comment about the baseball bat, LOL and a BIG RIGHT ON TO YOU!,  but knows I will take one to him. :) :) <LOL!  Well, I did mean it jokingly, so let him know I meant him no harm ;)  And I'm glad he's going to have you looming over him to keep an eye on his fish.> I will teach him how to take care of his lil guy (MY lil guy) <Hopefully, that's all he needs - is to learn how properly to care for a fish.  Once he knows, maybe he'll do better for 'em.> Even if it takes beating him silly and getting on his nerves and taking his fish away from him. <Disclaimer:  I do not condone the use of baseball bats for teaching lessons, etc.> I don't believe people should own any kind of animal if they don't look for the info to take care of them prior to owning them or right directly after getting them. (And I prefer the first over the latter) <Indeed....  But researching after a purchase is researching too late - but hey, better late than never.> As soon as I got the lil guys to sit, after getting them correctly set up so they could see what day light looked like and I could see them,  I was on your site reading away for hours. Grabbing every little piece of info so I could care for them properly. I will be printing up the info for him and I will sit there while he reads it IN FRONT of me and make sure he understands it. <Wonderful.  Uh.... but don't scare him away from caring for his fish, okay?  Just help him learn wherever necessary.> Just so I am sure here (lots of info floating through my head and it gets jumbled) how often on the water change and what percent? <I'd do 50% every week in something of a gallon-ish size, perhaps twice a week if it's a lot smaller.  Or if it's one of those little bitty Betta bowls (UGH!), daily.> Do you recommend Novaqua over Stress coat? <I use/recommend both.> Can you use too much of either? <Yes.  Try to use them as directed.> He just has the display tank right now, but might buy a 1 gallon bowl(?) with a filter on it. I have not seen it so I have no clue what he is talking about. They are sold at Wal-Mart, specifically made for Bettas. <Do beware of this if it's an undergravel filter - if your friend slacks on water changing, nitrates can get dangerously high in the little bowl very fast.  UGFs require a bit more maintenance than I usually like to recommend for a beginner's use.  However - there's a small 2-gallon tank (and other larger ones, as well) that is available at chain-type stores (and Wal-Mart) made by Regent (Marineland) that has a small wet-dry filter.  These are also available from Eclipse (still Marineland).  This would be a super simple tank for your friend to use.> I am patiently waiting for one of the LFS out in my area to get in some Split tails and some Crown tails, now that I am hooked. I have quite a few tanks just itching to be set up. :) I knew there was a fish out there calling my name! <Sounds exciting!!> I hope you won't mind me writing again, most likely with more news or questions, especially once I get my tanks set up, and snitch MY lil guy back from my friend. *grin* <Of course we don't mind.  Please do feel free to.> Thanks so very much! Magic <Any time.  -Sabrina>

Old Betta? Hi, I have had my male freshwater Betta for about 1 1/2 years now (his name is Leon), <Unfortunately, it is common for Bettas to live only a couple of years, and we often get them already at several months of age.  Basically, Leon's an old fart.  I mean that in the most respectful-to-elders sort of way!> He has always been very active and had a healthy appetite.  He is in a 3 gal tank by himself with a filtration system and gets conditioned spring water every water change which is always a 100% change.   <It's definitely a better idea to do smaller water changes more often....  Less possibility of shocking him with different temperature, pH> I feed him once a day with Betta bits except on Saturdays (because he lives at work).  When I left work for the weekend he was acting like himself then when I got back, he was settled on the bottom of the tank and pale and seemed to not have the strength to fly around the tank like he normally does.  I immediately did a 100% water change and gave him some food, he did eat though he struggled to get to the top of the tank.  He has no spots or cuts or abrasions or a swollen belly, he looks completely normal except for the paleness.  The only thing that was different was when I cleaned his tank there was some brown  cottony looking clumps underneath the gravel, <Likely decaying food material, other organic goop - could mean water parameters are outta whack - do you test for ammonia, pH, nitrite, nitrate?  If so, what are the values?  If not, you could swing by a fish store with a water sample, and they'll probably test it for you.  I'd recommend changing just a gallon or less every week, maybe on Mondays when you get back to work and are looking for excuses not to be doing something work-related ;)  Vacuuming the gravel in such a small tank would be difficult, but do-able, and might be done on a monthly basis (or slightly more frequently) to prevent buildups of organic material.> could he have an infection or is he just dying of old age?   <Well, he is an oldie, but I'm betting water parameters were a bit off and spurred his condition.  He should likely improve after having done the water change, unless temperature was way off during the water change - that'd have given him more problems to deal with.  It could also be that he's simply 'bored'.  Our Bettas always get sluggish every few months, and perk up again after a major change in decor.  Perhaps get him a new plant or two, or something like that, see if his mood improves.> What course of action should I take to care for him?  Thanks for your help, Kim <Good luck to you and Leon.  -Sabrina>
Old Betta? -continued-
Thanks for your help Sabrina, After I e-mailed you I checked his H2O values, they were all in the Ideal or safe range, <Ah.  By this I'm starting to think you're using the test 'strips'?  These have a tendency to be quite inaccurate, at times.  I strongly recommend a liquid reagent type test kit.  Just so you have a starting point, ammonia and nitrite should never be above zero.  Nitrate is acceptable up to 20ppm or so, but should be kept as close to zero as possible.  Also, even though the water tests well now, it could very well be the water you changed out was out of kilter (I'm still suspecting nitrates too high, from your mention of brown fuzzy globs in the substrate).> I gave him some super oxygenated water that I made at work to see if that would do anything he perked up a little for a few minutes.   <Super oxygenated how?  Hydrogen peroxide?  Or just aerated water?  Bettas are Anabantoids (air breathers), so there's not much to fear from lack of oxygenation.  I don't think it's at all necessary to resort to hydrogen peroxide to get oxygen into the water for an Anabantoid.> I also put some BettaMax in his water, I guess I just want to make sure I do everything I can before I can come to peace with him just being old especially since the Betta I have at home I have had forever. He is still alive today but still looks the same, he seems to be a little stronger when he swims, but his dorsal fin is starting to look ratty and he isn't eating much if anything. I just feel bad for the poor little guy. Thank you again for your help, much appreciated. Kim    <If you're starting to see fin damage, there might be something bacterial going on.  It might be worthwhile to try treating with a quality antibacterial med, possibly Kanamycin sulfate, Nitrofurazone, something along those lines.>
Old Betta? -continued (again)-
I will try the liquid reagent test.   <Good deal.  There are many accurate brands available - and easy to use.> I just aerated pure O2 into the water not peroxide.  We'll see what happens, thanks for all your help. <I do very much hope he'll pull through okay.  Tell Leon I'm rootin' for him!  -Sabrina>

Fuzzy wuzzy wazza.... Betta? What would you suggest for this white cottony film that is rising from my Betta?  Melafix or Fungus Eliminator?  Do I need to aerate with either? Thanks. <Well, unfortunately, this isn't a lot of information for us to go off of....  Could be Columnaris, a fungus of some sort, excess body slime from some irritant....  And I will heartily admit that I'm completely unconvinced as to the effectiveness of Melafix (extract of Melaleuca).  Although Melaleuca does seem to have some antifungal/antibacterial properties, I would certainly not rely upon it solely except in perhaps the mildest of cases, in which you still have time to play around/see if you get results before the fish is in real trouble and can resort to more (known) effective meds.  I have, however, used MelaFix in conjunction with other effective meds, such as Kanacyn, for fin rot and septicemia.  For the life of me, I can't seem to find the active ingredients of the Fungus Eliminator anywhere online, but I've heard of folks having great success with it.  I've never used it, myself.  Other options for you could be Kanamycin sulfate (proprietary names include "Kanacyn" [Aquatronics' name]), Nitrofurazone ("Furacyn" - again, Aquatronics), or a combination of the two (again, Aquatronics steps in with "Spectrogram").  Personally, I think I'd recommend the Spectrogram, myself.  If you can't find it, I suppose I'd suggest the Fungus Eliminator - as I said, I've heard good things, just never used it myself.  -Sabrina>

Busted for Bettas (with fin rot) Hi everyone, I had previously written on this topic and was assisted by Anthony and Ananda.  (thanks!!!)  <Well Deb, now you get Sabrina, too!> I do have my fish in a better set-up now. It's only been set up for about 12 days. I got a 5 ½ gallon tank  (10 gallon was just too big for where I wanted to put it), a Jungle Jr. dirt magnet filter, a TetraTec 12 pump, a 3-way gang valve, and  a 25-watt Visi-Therm Deluxe heater, set at 80 degrees. The heater is on one side and the dirt magnet is on the other. The filter pipe is making a nice stream of bubbles, but no waves, so the fish are happy! They each have 3 plants. For the divider, I bought what Wet Pets had (for the frame) and substituted a needlepoint form. The divider was clear; the needlepoint form is white, although the holes are bigger. They do see each other, but they are safely separated. I think the two Bettas have gotten used to each other now. They don't hang out at the divider and flare too much anymore. <Sounds great so far> Now I'm running into more problems, I think. The Betta that has had almost constant fin and tail rot still has it. He was ok when I put him in the tank, but I think the stress from seeing the other one (who is fine) has made him susceptible to fin and tail rot again.  I have been checking the ammonia, and I didn't even get any ammonia until day 5.  I changed a gallon of the water, and then added 2 capsules of BettaMax. I knew that I shouldn't really add meds while the tank is so new and cycling, but I just couldn't ignore his fin & tail rot either.  But I haven't been able to check the ammonia with the green color in the water, so I don't know where the cycle is now, and that worries me, even though the fish look and act fine. I've been changing a gallon of water (with BettaMax added) every other day to try to keep the ammonia down, or nitrites if the cycle has started. I haven't swept the gravel for almost 2 weeks (didn't want to disturb the biological filter if it's starting but I think it needs swept a little).   I'm waiting for an online order to come (remember I have trouble going to pet stores due to allergies); I ordered a small corner filter with carbon to remove the medicine. When it comes, I'll take 2 gallons out (about 50%), sweep, put 2 gallons of clean water in (without BettaMax), run the carbon corner filter, and then start testing ammonia and nitrite. I hope the order comes today because I really need to test those ammonia and nitrite levels.    <Personally, I usually prefer to recommend Kanamycin Sulfate (Kanacyn) for treating fin rot, as it seems to be much more effective than other antibacterials against this particular ailment.  I have seen goldfish with virtually no fins left make complete rebounds within a weeks' use of this med.  Good Stuff.> I also got some Bio-Spira on Monday. I meant to get it the first time, but I forgot. So I have some now, but how should I use it? If the nitrites have appeared, should I even put it in, or just let the cycle continue by itself? <Can't hurt to give it a shot.  Frankly, I've heard mixed reviews on Bio-Spira, but I haven't used it myself.  There are other products out as well that do pretty much the same things.  Honestly, I usually just use filter media from an existing, healthy tank to cycle a new tank, so I really haven't used these products a lot.  Water changes will also be necessary while you're cycling.> If you put it in when the cycle has started, isn't that just asking for trouble? <Not necessarily.> What are your suggestions about adding the Bio-Spira now, since the tank is not 'new' anymore?  I figured out that my size tank will take about 5 ml. <Check your water parameters, see how it's all going, and make your decision based upon whether/how much your tank has cycled. What about the Betta with the fin and tail rot?  If I gave him BettaMax every time he gets some fin & tail rot, he would be in BettaMax over half the time. The other Betta is fine. Now, if one fish gets medicine, the other gets it too. Try the Kanacyn; it should hopefully kick this fin rot for good and all.> Do I just have to accept that this Betta  will be like this forever? <Certainly not.  Sick is not normal.  I'm betting you can get him over it.> My parents went with me to Wet Pets. That is a very nice store. They picked everything out from my list and I went in to pay (and I 'paid for it' but I'm getting over it; oh well.)  I did go to Poseidon's. I went once; they didn't have any small set-ups, and then they closed a few weeks later.  I was sorry to see that. Are they setting up another store somewhere? <This I'm afraid I can't help with....  I'm in CA, and don't know anything about your area (Chicago, I assume?); sorry 'bout that!> Any suggestions that you have will be greatly appreciated!  Don't send the fish police after me!  LOL!!   Sincerely, Deb Varga <Eh, not for helping your fish, we won't!!>

Betta Fightin' I recently had 2 male Bettas in a 10 gallon fish tank, separated of course, and one accidentally got in the other one's side of the tank.   <Uh-oh!> I do not know how he got in there or how long they were in there fighting because it happened while I was asleep at night.  Well, the older one died and the younger one survived but is now acting weird.   <Ugh, so sorry to hear that....> I treated his cuts and torn fins with the Betta medicine at the pet store and got him a smaller tank (1 gallon).  He now just lays at the top of the tank, halfway out of the water, and hardly eats.  He is really jumpy too.  It has been  a few weeks since his fight and I cant figure out what is wrong with him.  I treat his water with ChlorOut and partially change it once a week or so.  Can you help? <Well, definitely maintain the absolute best water quality you can.  I'd recommend to try treating with Kanacyn or other quality antibacterial medicine, to try to help him recuperate and prevent bacterial infection from setting in.  The 'Betta medicine' from your store - I've seen stuff called 'BettaFix', I think, and I believe it was tea tree extract, basically the same stuff as MelaFix.  It may help some, keep treating with it as directed on the bottle.> Thanks, Becky < I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you; Bettas are tough, he may just pull through.  Good luck with him!  -Sabrina>

Black spots on Bettas Hi, <Hello, Pam!  Sabrina here, hoping I can help> I have been raising Bettas for about a year now. I bought one that looked dirty, he had black spots on him or "patches of black". Don't know what I was or wasn't thinking when I purchased him. At any rate the black has spread to other fish. Mainly the females. But, some are on my males too. <Can you give us a few details about the black patches?  Are they small, large?  Raised, or seems to be part of the coloration?  Also, could you give us some specs on your tank(s) / setup(s), primarily pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate readings?  Are the Bettas acting normal?  Fins clamped, or anything else amiss?> I searched and searched for this prob. all over Betta sites. I know I saw it a while back somewhere. But can't find it now, naturally. <Well, there is one parasitic illness that comes to mind, referred to as "black spot", but this is a digenetic fluke (requires multiple hosts) that is usually only seen in wild fish or in ponds, or in instances where wild snails have been introduced into an aquarium.  I'm more inclined to think that this discoloration in your Bettas is related perhaps to water quality issues, so do run some water tests (or, if necessary, have your LFS check it for you), and do water changes if necessary.> My two year old makes it very hard to get on here to search. <Quite understandable!> So, please help me. What is it, and how do I fix it? They seem fine, not scratching, eating well and are active. It just makes them look "dirty". Please help me!!  P.S. I know you prob. cant send me a personal email about the whole deal, but, if at all poss. Could you tell me when it will be posted and exactly where? <This will be posted at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs.htm probably tomorrow.> Thank you so much for any help you give me, Pam

- Brown Lump on a Betta - Hello, my name is Vanna, and I have a question about my Betta Fish. <Hi, Vanna, JasonC here...> Well, A couple of days ago I've been noticing a lump under my fish around his fin area. Just recently the lump has gotten really big. It looks brown and  I think it's growing still. Maybe it's a parasite or a fungus but I've been on sites and there's nothing that they have that describes what my fish has. <Yeah, it's hard to find data on 'a brown lump', but some other looking around leads me to believe this might be a tumor of some type.> I don't know what it is but I'm really worried about my fish. It lays on the bottom of the tank and it's not really aggressive as it used to be. <Depending on the nature of the growth, it may be moving in multiple directions - inward and outward.> I fed my fish 3 pellets 3 times a day. Sometimes it won't eat it all and other times it will. Now I think I'm over feeding him so I'm only feeding him 3 pellets 2 times a day. He still blows bubbles so I don't know if he's okay. I only had the fish for about 3 months, I got it on my birthday. Well if you know what is wrong with my fish can you please help? <Well... best to just keep on with the feeding and keep the water quality tip-top. The lump may rupture revealing itself to be something else, perhaps parasitic in nature that would respond to treatment, but if it's a tumor there is no treatment for it.> I'm really attached to this fish and I would like to help him because I know it's not his time to go. Thank you. <Sorry to be the bearer of no-so-good news. Cheers, J -- >

Lethargic Betta Hi. <Hi> I bought a male beta two weeks ago and recently he has been hanging out at the top of his tank. <They do this.> I've had to move him at least a dozen times to make sure he was alive. <not a good sign> Most of the time he's hung out at the bottom, along the rocks when he's not swimming.  I have noticed that he changes colors occasionally.  When I bought him, and at first, he was very bright blue with some red.  Sometimes, he would be more gray/blue, others, more red. Now, he's fairly gray looking.  Is that Ich? <I do not think it is Ich, it sounds like it is related to water quality.  Are you adding anything to your water to neutralize chlorine and Chloramine?  I would change out 1/3 to of his water every other day with clean dechlorinated water that is approximately the same temperature as the water in his bowl.  What has he been eating?  Is there anything in his bowl that might be polluting the water?  Please read the FAQs at the link below for common Betta ailments.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm  > Please let me know.  Thanks! Elizabeth

Lethargic Betta Gage, Thanks for getting back to me.  My main goal in writing was to find out whether or not I should put him out of his misery...it's just so hard to tell.  To answer your questions, I do neutralize his water, and clean his bowl fairly often.  He has been eating up until yesterday when he started hanging out on top of the water.  The only things in his bowl are rocks and a tank plant.  Both were cleaned as per directions before placed in his home. Thanks for your response! <I'd say let him fight, he knows a lot better than we do when it is time to go.  Frequent partial water changes, and the addition of aquarium salt should help.  It is hard to tell what he went through before he came into your care.  From what I have seen of Betta handling, they do not always have an easy trip, shipping in small baggies w/ a couple of ounces of water, constant meds to keep them presentable, ugh.  I say give him a chance.  Right now, out of my entire collection, my female Betta is the only one who tells me she is happy to see me by the look in her eyes. -Gage>

- Betta Questions - Question #1 Hi! My Betta is 15 months old and has been getting fungus sick a lot lately. He had just gotten over a sickness and I put him back in his regular 3 gal. bowl- HE was very happy with his new plants and was blowing bubbles like Crazy when I noticed he started doing this thing again (like he had done right before he got sick last time) When he eats- he opens his mouth to take the food and leaves some kind of thin white thing in the water. It is very tiny. What is that?? <I'm sorry to say I have no idea...> Question #2 Well a few days later I noticed the fungus/Ick stuff on his back. So I immediately threw him into some treated water with methyl stuff in it. Within 30 minutes the fungus on his tail and back was gone. He seemed fine- However when I got home that afternoon... HE wasn't moving and all underneath his chin was white and iridescent looking. A sure sign he is not well. He wouldn't move or respond to me. SO I took him out of that water and put him in the remains of the water I normally put in his tank during 25% water changes. He slowly began to regain alertness and started swimming around.  The water that I put him in in all instances had been sitting out for at least 5 days- uncovered. The temperatures were pretty much right on and all came from the same source. I think he must have had chlorine issues in the Medicine water. <Very possible...> Now he has a blue iridescent mark on the bottom of both eyes and his scales under his chin are still pale and sort of white, But he is blowing bubbles again and has flared up. What do I do for him? <Get him in some quality water.> Did I Burn him with Chlorine?? What is the best plant to put in my 3 gall.? <I wouldn't bother in a tank of this size. I would consider getting a larger tank and treating this fish to some larger quarters and some better water circulation.> My poor fish! I think he would run away from me if he could! I dearly love him though- Thanks I know this might be a handful to answer But I haven't any one else to ask!   Vanessa <Do read our article on Bettas, I think it would provide some insight: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm Cheers, J -- >

- Betta Bail-out - I bought a Betta from a local (reputable) retailer (I live in Inverurie, North-East Scotland) and introduced him carefully in to my community tank. <I'm guessing this is a freshwater Betta.> Within hours he had started to turn a silvery colour from the tip of his rear fin and this spread rapidly along towards his body. By the morning he was dead. Betta's are beautiful fish and I would love to have one in my tank but I don't want to buy another if it is doomed to die! Have you any idea what the problem might be? I have been back to the retailer. They weren't at all interested - just said that it was nothing to do with them! <Well... do tell a little bit about your 'community tank' - for starters, is it heated? I'd love to help but I need more information.> Many thanks Annie Gray. <Cheers, J -- >

Floating Betta Hello, My 4 year old daughter received a Betta fish in a bowl about 2 months ago. My wife feeds it every other day food pellets. We change the water once a week using bottled water which has no chlorine and no sodium. This fish normally hangs out at the bottom of the bowl. Today, he is floating at the top on his side. We changed his water again quickly and bought some BettaFix medicine from the local fish store. Do you guys have any ideas as to what happened and how we can treat him? I would hate to just replace him with a new one if we can save him. THANKS! Mike <Hi Mike, I might wait on the BettaFix and keep up on the water changes. Floating like you describe is usually related to environmental factors.  Check out the Betta disease section for more information. -Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm>

Sick or Very Constipated Betta <Hi-Ryan here> Hello there, I'll get right to it. <Very good> I have recently purchased two male Bettas one red and one blue.  They live in a divided bowl designed for Bettas and were doing fine until I  dropped some aquarium plant bulbs into them (they kept knocking up the plastic ones). <OK> Two days later the red Betta lost its appetite, so I removed the bulbs from their home, changed the water, and added a little Melafix and aquarium salt to the water (after conditioning it of course). <OK> The blue Betta is doing fine, eating, swimming, etc.  The red one still has no appetite.  I had been feeding them floating pellets at first, but had switched to freeze dried blood worms as a meal.  Wasn't aware that they should used as an occasional treat, and I believe that my red Betta is constipated as a result. He has an abnormally round tumor-like shape underneath, between his two front hanging fins (is this where his rectum located?).  It is about the size of 3 or 4 sesame seeds.....part of it being his underbelly, and part of it appearing to be tan colored feces. <Does the feces float?> I have separated him to his own bowl, treated with Melafix and conditioned, and haven't fed him (reading that constipated Bettas must fast for 1-3 days).  It has been 2 days, and the "lump" is still there, although the "feces" part does look softer.  He moves normal, just a bit pale, and lethargic. <To be expected in this situation.> He breathes from the surface still, but there is more profound gill work as well.  Not to mention that unsightly "lump", and extreme lack of appetite (refused 1 pellet after 1 and 1\2 days).  Is this just a waiting game or is there anything else that I can do?  Please help.  Thank you.   <More a waiting game than anything.  Give him regular water changes, keep offering varied foods.  Keeping the red one in eyeshot of the blue may keep both a little more active.  These fish are generally hardy as they come.  Have you seen the way they're shipped?  They're in small little plastic bags with 1-2 inches of water.  Just be patient, try different things.  When you do feed with dry pellets, soak them in water for a few minutes in a different container so that they can absorb water before being engulfed!  Good luck!  Ryan>

My Betta was Trapped! <Hello! Ryan with you> I have a small 2.5 gallon aquarium in my office.  I have one male Beta.  I noticed this morning that he looked trapped in a hole in some coral that I used for a tank decoration.  I reached in and took the coral out but unfortunately most of his fins are gone, especially the one's underneath. <Bettas are delicate!  In the future make sure to keep them with things they can't rip themselves on.> He had, he seems very listless and I don't know what to do.  The tank is fine, the water levels are good, and I just don't want to loose him. <I understand.> I don't know if I should switch him to a small bowl or leave him, he is the only fish in the tank. <Try a touch of stress coat, or something similar.  Just give him time, make sure he eats to keep up overall health.  Leave him where he is-he doesn't need anymore stress.> I would appreciate any help. Thank you, Lori <You're welcome.  Ryan> I have enclosed a couple of pictures if that will help.  

Lethargic Betta Hi. My Siamese fighting fish which is about a year old has been just laying around in his bowl lately. Then today he was just laying on his side and when he tried to swim he was swimming on his side using only one fin!!. I just keep him in a regular fish bowl without any air pumps or anything, because your able to do this with Siamese fighting fish. Also his colour is fading badly. Please help. Is he going to die? Rhea   <Hi Rhea, what is your water change schedule like? do you change all the water at once, or partial water changes?  Do you use any dechlorinator or other products?  What has he/she been eating?  How long has this been going on?  How old is the Betta? Check out the following link, there is a lot of information on Betta ailments.  This sounds to me like it could be related to water quality issues.  I might change out 1/3 to 1/2 of the water, replace with dechlorinated water that is the same temperature as the water in the bowl, if water quality is the problem this is a good place to start. http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm Best Regards, Gage>

Betta I have had the same Siamese fighting fish for almost a year now.. About two months ago the water in the tank became very cloudy,<ok> so I changed the water.<hopefully this was not the first time you changed the water since you purchased the fish>  After this the fish only stayed at the bottom of the tank, then about two months ago he has been only floating at the top. <floating on his side? if so not a good sign> And he's not dead.<good to hear>  I thought maybe it was the filtration system so I got another tank but now he is floating on one side of the tank.  He has also lost some of his bright colors and his fins seems shorter.<doesn't sound good>  I went to the pet store and bought some antibiotics just in case it was a parasite, but that not working.<from what you are telling me this fish doesn't sound like it has parasites, you are doing this fish more harm than good by just purchasing antibiotics and treating him>  He is still eating <that's good> but just floats on one side at the top of the tank.<would check the water quality of his aquarium>  I change the water every week boiling it and letting it cool to get all the chemicals out.  I also bought some water cleaner to control the chlorine.<good>  I don't know what's wrong with him and I don't know what else to do!<If the fish is eating (which is a good sign), I would just keep his aquarium in top shape (water quality, etc) and whatever you do don't treat him with medication before knowing for sure what the problem is, good luck-IanB> If you have any ideas of what could be wrong or if I'm doing something wrong please e-mail me back It would greatly be appreciated. You have seemed to help others on your web site so hopefully you can help me! Sincerely, Christine

Sick Betta Hello <Hello> I have a Betta who is not feeling or looking to well.  I have only had him for a couple of weeks.  He started off in my 10 g community tank, but was being picked on, so I moved him into his own 1 g tank.  Two days ago, I noticed a white fluffy spot above his right eye.  I put some copper into the tank.  The next day there was debris all over the tank from the sore flaking off.  He now has a hole in his head.  I'm not sure if this is hole in head disease or Popeye (his right eye does not look normal) or both and what to treat him with.   Also, should I change his water every couple of days or only do it once a week?  When I change his water, I treat the water with stress coat, tap water conditioner and a pH stabilizer.  Thanks Susan <You need to get a good antibiotic and also do some reading on various diseases. Maracyn & Maracyn 2 are both good medications and a good start to the reading is at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm His water should be changed about once a week. Ronni>

Betta Trouble! Bob, <Ronni here with you today> I hope I'm writing the right person and you can help my ailing fish. <I'll certainly try> I've had Tuffy-Fish for two years and he's been healthy up until about four days ago.  He seems to want to eat but when he goes for the food, he doesn't actually get it into his mouth.  I've been feeding 'Aquaculture' since I got him and this is the first time he's had a problem.  He's in a vase with plant and I change the water once a week. I would hate to lose the little guy if it's not his time. Any suggestions? Thanks, Diane <Unfortunately, it may very well just be old age. Bettas generally only live 2-3 years and most of them are around a year old by the time they are purchased from a shop. You might try enticing him with a meal of frozen bloodworms or daphnia but beyond that there's probably not a whole lot that can be done. Ronni>

Help with Betta swelling Hello, I know nothing about fish but managed to save my daughter's Betta fish when it became ill a week or so after she brought it home. It was just laying around at the bottom of the bowl looking dead.  I am not sure what I did but he bounced back amazingly so and now I am attached to him. Some months have since passed. Just before he got sick he made lots of bubbles so I am assuming he is male. > looking at the pictures, yes, this does appear to be a male.> Now he seems perky and jumps at his food although occasionally looks a little lethargic. He is always glad to see me although seemed suspicious of my camera. <LOL! Mine always hate getting their picture taken.> His color seems off though. These photos don't show the correct color. He is normally a beautiful wine color with blue/turquoise undertones but right now he is looking a bit yellow in places and has a swollen area--not sure if it is considered the gill area or the belly.  I have looked at several lists of illnesses and other than some evidence of fin rot or fraying, he doesn't seem to be exhibiting any of the other symptoms listed that might be typically related to a swollen belly or gill.  He is not behaving as if he has swim bladder problems and no evidence of parasites internal or exterior, according to the descriptions I have read. <The color could just be a normal color change, they'll do this a little from time to time. The swollen area could be something more serious such as dropsy or constipation but generally there are other indications also. Look to see if any of his scales on the swollen area are sticking straight out (making him look like a pinecone), if so, this is dropsy so take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm and follow the treatment course recommended there. Constipation will usually result in the fish not eating.> The closest I could come was perhaps an inflamed thyroid?  Or something wrong with his gills?  He appears to look normal from above. <Probably not.> We noticed early on that all he wants to eat are blood worms which is what we feed him. I feed him small amounts twice a day. He is in a 2 gallon tank. <This is an awfully high protein diet. Bettas are carnivores but even so, they do need a change in their diet occasionally. Try giving him a little vegetable matter once in a while. For now, start with the inside of a pea. If he's constipated this will loosen him up and help a lot and even if he's not, it's not going to hurt him.> Could you look at his photo and see if you can tell what it ailing him? Sorry for the poor quality photos.  He did not want to sit still and the lighting and color are definitely off.   <It does appear as if it's constipation or dropsy, check and try the above things.> Thank you very much. I appreciate your help. Nancy Webster <You're welcome! Ronni>

Bettas with almost constant fin rot Hello everyone, <Hi! Ananda here today...> I just found this site a week or so ago and it's great. <Glad you like it!> My fish probably wish I found it sooner! <But they're glad you did find it, I suspect. :)> P.S. Hello to Anthony Calfo from a fellow Pittsburgh-er!! <Will pass it on... YO, ANTHONY! :)> I have two Betta fish. Right now they are in their own bowls. One has an episode of fin and tail rot every few months. The other one has been fine up till now. I give them BettaMax when this happens. <I would switch to Maracyn II for this.> I use Novaqua and Amquel, aquarium salt, and pH down when making up their water. <I am not a fan of pH changing products -- having a *steady* pH is far more important than having a low pH. The pH here is about 7.8 out of the tap, and we have a healthy, happy Betta. Since fancy Bettas are captive-bred, they are tolerant to more alkaline water than wild Bettas.>   I let it acclimate to room temperature.   <Bettas really should be in a heated tank... I like to keep the tank with our Betta at about 82 degrees. We've found Bettas are much more active at that temperature.> On the advice of my LFS, I removed about half of their gravel and only feed them once a day because their ammonia would be .25 or .5 a few days after a water change. <It's really best to have some filtration for these fish.> It would seem that I have done everything right so far. However, when doing more research on fin rot, water that is too cool is mentioned. I think this is the problem. Also I think the water temperature fluctuates too much overnight, when I turn the under-counter lights out. <Ack. Get these guys a tank with a heater.> When I got my first Betta, I put him in an Eclipse 3 gallon tank and added a 25-watt heater. However, the Betta hated the current and he was not his cheerful little self. He refused to eat or come over to say "hi" to me.  I put a fake plant under the water return to slow its strength a little, but it didn't help. <A little-known trick is that you can reduce the water flow in an Eclipse filter by shortening the "fins" on the impeller. Just take a good heavy scissors or angle snips and carefully cut them. If you break the impeller fin off completely, just do that for every other fin.> He got his first case of fin rot from being stressed in this tank. So I removed him and put him back in the bowl. But now I think that the best thing to stop his fin rot episodes would be a heated tank. I did return the Eclipse tank but I still have the heater. <Hmmm.> So I would like to know if I can put both Bettas in a tank with a heater and a partition. Would a three gallon tank be ok for 2 Bettas? <In this case, I would suggest a standard 10 gallon tank with a tank divider.> Would I need something to keep the water moving so the warm water does not stay only on one side of the tank?  I would like a filter too, but remember how the one Betta hated it. I never had the second Betta in a big tank. <I would suggest a pair of sponge filters, driven by the same air pump. This will give you some mechanical and biological filtration. Each week when you do a water change, rinse ONE of the sponges in the old tank water. The sponge filters will keep the water moving.> Would any type of filtration and aeration not cause too much water current? <You can use a smallish pump to keep the overall tank current low. Alternately, use a larger pump on a gang valve, and let some of the air go out of the gang valve.> Also, the LFS said that Bettas can't cycle ammonia so it will always be high, and it always was when the first Betta was in the Eclipse tank. <Fish themselves don't cycle ammonia. Your filter cycles ammonia. My guess is that your Eclipse tank never finished cycling.> How can I avoid that now? <The sponge filters will do the biological filtration. Your initial cycle will be slow -- maybe a couple of months or so -- because you'll have to keep doing water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrates down so the fish can survive the cycle.> Would it also be ok if I didn't have a filter (because I'm afraid it will just be too stressful after their quiet little bowls)? Should I use some biological starter? I've gotten conflicting advice on this one. <If you can get Bio-Spira locally, it is the one thing that can actually jump-start a cycle. It's live bacteria, refrigerated and dated, so you have to make sure you use it while it's still active. Everything else I've heard of that says it cycles your tank is generally useless.> Some say that a Betta bowl has anaerobic bacteria which are not a biological filter, and some say the bowls do get the "good" type of bacteria. <Anaerobic bacteria break nitrates down to nitrogen gas. It's not likely that Betta bowls have them. However, nitrifying bacteria, which break ammonia down into nitrites and nitrites into nitrates, can grow in the substrate of some Betta bowls.> I was reading on this site about Eheim equipment. Is that what you'd recommend for a Betta set-up? <Eheim builds a lot of stuff... what particularly were you wondering about?> How would I go about acclimating the two fish in there? Should I treat them with Jungle Fungus Eliminator first to get them healthy enough to go in the same tank? I read in another question here that the Jungle product was recommended for fin and tail rot. <I've read that in other places, too... I would set up the tank first, with the tank divider and sponge filters. Then I'd let that run for a couple of days. Hmmm. Thinking about this a bit more, I'd definitely go with the gang valve for the sponge filters -- you can slowly increase the amount of air going to the sponge filters to get your Bettas accustomed to the current. After you have had the tank set up, how you proceed depends on whether or not you can get the Bio-Spira.>   Also, I hope anything you recommend can be purchased on-line, as I have a severe allergy to cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, etc, and can't even go to a pet shop. Too bad there aren't any fish-only shops around here! <Ack! Everything except perhaps the Bio-Spira can be ordered online -- one vendor is Drs. Foster and Smith: click the sponsor link at the top of the Daily Q&A page to get there. For the Bio-Spira, you might call up the pet shop, explain your situation, and see if they could order it -- maybe you could arrange for a delivery, or ask a friend to go with you and pick it up from them.> Thank you very, very much for reading all my questions, and for all your help! Deb <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Sick Betta My fiance and I have a Betta.  We went away the end of March for the weekend and now 1 month later, our Betta still has not been eating.  We have tried BettaMax.  That does not seem to work.  He has lost his appetite and has shown a loss of color.  What do you suggest?  Every time we lift the lid of our tank and put in food he seems to twitch instead of swim normally.  Something really seems wrong.  He is about a year old and never acted like this in the past.  Please help. Jennifer <Well, he has to be eating something or he would have starved by now so he's probably eating some when you aren't looking. But even so, I would try enticing him with a live food such as bloodworms or even brine shrimp (brine isn't the best food but it helps get a fish eating). If you can't get these, frozen bloodworms or frozen daphnia will often work very well. Also, have you checked the water quality? If the water is poor he may not want to eat. Ronni>

Betta question Hi there, I'm so glad I found somebody who may be able to help me! I cleaned my beta's bowl last night and this morning he had two tiny white spots on his side, one near his head. The spot near his head looks like it is something "hanging on", part of it is off of the fish and waves in the water as he swims, almost like a parasite, but it looks very soft. I can't tell if it is a parasite or a fungus. I'm worried that I may have gotten him sick from the net I used. In my big tank I had a neon tetra that was swimming upside-down and he ended up dying. I used the same net, I did rinse it well after scooping out my sick fish and that was a couple of weeks ago already. The fish that died didn't have any spots on it. My betta with the spots is still very active and has his bubble nest and everything, he seems happy and healthy otherwise. I love him dearly. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Thank You!!! Jackie <Take a look at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm and see if any of those are what your fish has. There are recommended treatments there too. Ronni>

Listless Betta Hey guys. I have a question about my Betta. I have had him for a couple months and he goes by the name big Vedo. About a week and a half ago and I went to feed him and he was lying on the bottom of the 1 gallon bowl I have. As soon as I noticed this I changed his water and he has been the same ever since. He doesn't really eat. We moved him to a 10 gallon take alone yesterday and he still seems to be the same. He lies on the bottom either on his side or with his head in the gravel. Is their anything you can tell me to help me out with him. <It sounds like he has swim bladder disorder. This can be treated with Epsom salts but most often, the treatment is unsuccessful. Do a search for swim bladder disorder at http://www.wetwebmedia.com for more info. Also visit some of the Betta sites. www.bettastarz.com and www.bcbettas.com are both very good ones.> And I have 1 other question I no if u mix 2 mail Bettas together they will fight to the death <Generally not to the death but often one or both will later die as a result of the injuries received.> but is their any other fish that I can put in a 10 gallon tank with him and they can live together with out hurting each other. <Many fish don't mix well with Bettas unless it's in a very large tank. I've personally tried many different species and the only ones I've had any real success with were Platies and Swordtails. I currently have a 10g tank with a male Betta, 4 Platies, and 2 Swordtails. All of the fish get along quite well but the Betta does make short work of any babies that come along, even with lots of plants for them to hide in.> Thanks a lot for your time. Later. <You're welcome! Ronni>
Re: Listless Betta
How much of the Epsom salt should I put in a 1 gallon fish bowl? <Do a search at http://www.wetwebmedia.com for Epsom Salt and you should be able to find out how much to use. Ronni>
Re: Listless Betta
ok thinks for your time and I have 1 last question how much longer do you think my Betta will last if he's been like this for about a week? <I had a female live with swim bladder disease for close to a year. I lowered the water level in her tank to about 1.5' so it was easier for her to get to the surface for air. I had to do very frequent water changes because the small volume of water fouled very rapidly but she was quite happy and otherwise healthy. Ronni>

Re: Betta constipation The Betta won't eat tiny, inside, cooked pieces of a pea. Can I soak his regular food pellet with oil of some kind? What kind, how much? Concerned Patricia <I wouldn't recommend soaking his food in oil but another thing you can try is fasting him for a few days (3 would be good) and then feeding him frozen or live food. My Bettas love bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, and occasionally brine shrimp (live or frozen) but don't feed brine shrimp very often as it has virtually no nutritional value. Ronni>

Splitting fins - A Betta in Trouble. Hullo, WWM crew! <Hello there Elf!> I am so glad I stumbled across your site when I was doing fish research - now that I have a question, I know exactly who to ask - you guys! <We're glad you found us too!> My name is Elspeth (friends call me Elf - feel free), and I have a little issue with my male Beta splendens. (Some background is in order, here, I think). I purchased my Beta from a local pet shop, on the day they got the new shipment in (he was a part of that shipment). He was in frigid water, so I acclimated him slowly to my water, and later discovered he had some mild fin rot. I treated him with BettaMax, the fin rot went away, and his fins grew back splendidly (if you'll pardon the pun). I've had him for a good month, now, he is eating well, is very energetic, quite sociable, and appears in all respects normal... Except for something I noticed today... When I had my 2 hr break from class, I came home to feed him, and noticed that one of his pelvic fins (or 'streamers' as my sister calls them) was split about halfway up the length of the fin. When I got home, to stay, this afternoon, I noticed that his tail fin (I can't remember the proper spelling of the technical term - tee hee) was split lengthwise near the top of his tail - the split went right through to his body. He doesn't seem to notice, and appears happy as can be, flaring at the cats as they walk about the living room... But these tears worry me - could it be fin rot, again? The outside edge of his fins are sort of a lighter colour, but his fins aren't at all tatty or moth-eaten... <It could be fin rot or a tear from a decoration'¦> Some tank data: pH 7, ammonia 1, nitrate 5. I plan to change his water this weekend, but doing it sooner will be no problem, if that's what he needs. The tank temp is about 80-85 F, and the tank is labeled as holding 2 gallons (more like 1 and 2/3, with 'stuff' in it). I have an aeration unit/filterish thingjobby (under gravel), gravel (aquarium type), and a fake plant (to keep down algae levels). As well as a 25watt heater and thermometer. <OK, your ammonia should be 0 and needs to be brought down immediately. And please forgive me this question as I don't want to offend you but you say nitrates 5, do you mean nitrates or nitrites? If it is indeed nitrates, the 5 is nothing to worry about, if it's nitrites (which I suspect it is) then it's a huge concern as it should also be at 0. High ammonia and nitrites can cause problems with the fins in Bettas. Another common problem is plastic plants. They tend to be unforgiving if a Betta gets his long fins caught on one and they will tear the fin. Silk or real plants are better to use because they're softer. You do need to do a 25% water change immediately today and probably another one daily for the next couple of days to bring the ammonia down. If the tank is new, the high ammonia will probably be part of the initial cycle, if it has been setup and running for more than a few weeks then the high ammonia is most likely caused by overfeeding.> I hope I'm just splitting hairs over split fins, and your advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! ~Elspeth "Elf" <You're welcome! Ronni>
Re: Splitting fins - A Betta in trouble
Thank you for your prompt reply! <You're welcome!> Today I have a 3 hour break, and will be able to change his water. Yes, I am sure I tested NitrAtes, not NitrItes (two separate tests, and I made sure which I was testing.). <Very good. I just wanted to make sure because a lot of people confuse the two.> I will look into a silk plant - my twin and I have been suspicious of that plastic one for a while; thanks for confirming one of our hunches! I will also be more cautious how much I feed him, from now on. <Both good ideas.> A question, if I may ask: Perhaps I ought to also treat him for fin rot, in case that is a factor? *raises eyebrows, quizzically* <I would hold off on treating him unless the splits don't start to heal, begin to get worse,  or his fins start looking ragged. I really suspect the problem lies in the plant and not fin rot and medicating him will serve no purpose. If the problem is indeed the plant then once you remove it the tears should start healing on their own.> Thanks again - I'll keep you posted!~ Elspeth "Elf" <You're welcome! Ronni>

Betta with head down tail up at rest Dear Crew, <Hello! Ronni here today.> Overnight my strong, healthy female Betta seems to have developed a problem.  When she is not swimming around she appears to be unable to keep her body in a horizontal position.  Her body ends up with her head down and tail is pointing up, (at about a 45 degree angle with respect to the bottom of the tank) and she can't control or correct it.  She is now spending time under the box filter which she has never done before.  I believe this is an effort to remain horizontal. When she does swim (which is less often than usual) she looks fine, fins up and nicely spread out. She took some food this morning. Water parameters are ammonia 0, pH 7.8, nitrites 0.5 (not great but this is not new), didn't measure nitrates, temp 79 degrees F. Is this head down thing indicative of a disease of some sort and what can I do to help her? Judy <This sounds like a swim bladder problem. You really need to get those nitrites down to 0ppm and keep them there. There's really no cure for swim bladder disease but improved water quality can help and once in a while treating with Epsom salts will help. Do a search at http://www.wetwebmedia.com for Epsom salts for more info.>

Mysteriously Dying Bettas Hello crew... <Hello> I have a question regarding the perpetual demise of the many Betta fish I have tried to add to my tank (one at a time of course). I have a community tank in which all inhabitants are peaceful, so pestering by other fish was not the problem.  The Betta(s) acclimated well, but by the 4th and 5th day I started to notice rot of their fins.  The condition became worse and worse until the Betta would die.  I do not attribute it to a bacterial or fungal tail rot since it only affected the Betta. I have live plants, a sand substrate, and a 304 Fluval for a 29 gallon tank.  Since the Fluval 304 is for 70 gallons, the water is very well aerated and clean.  Someone told me that it may be the increased amount of oxygen in my tank that kills the Betta, but this doesn't sound correct.  If this is the problem can you explain why exactly Betta fish do not thrive in well oxygenated water. Thanks for the advice! <Unfortunately, peaceful community tanks are often not so peaceful to Bettas. You often won't see it happening but the other fish will pick at them, destroying their fins and eventually killing the Betta. I can't remember exactly what types of fish you have but I think it was Tetras and they can be absolutely horrible about killing Bettas. My guess is this is what's happening to your fish and I would suggest that if you want to keep a Betta you should keep him in a separate tank. The increased amount of oxygen won't actually kill your Betta but they don't like a lot of water movement. They come from stagnant, slow moving waters in the wild and they get worn out when placed in tanks with a good circulation. They also use what's called a labyrinth organ to breathe which means they don't breathe thru their gills like other fish. Instead, they actually come to the surface of the water for air. This is why Bettas are so often kept successfully in tank with no filtration, just frequent water changes. Ronni>

Sick Betta Hello,   <Hi there>     Thank you for having this forum, my fish and I could certainly use your help! <You're welcome! Thank you for visiting us!> Last week I bought some colored glass rocks to put in my Betta's 1 gallon bowl.  I washed the rocks, rinsed them twice and dried them with a towel before adding them to my Betta's bowl.  Prior to adding the rocks, he was very lively and responsive.  Three days later, he began to act strangely.  He kept to the bottom of the bowl, and kept his fins pretty close to his body. I've never had a Betta before, so I thought he might be resting.  On the fourth day, I noticed tiny white dots all over his body and fins.  He didn't have any on his head.  I did some research on the web, and decided that he probably had Ich.  I think the towel that I dried the rocks with may not have been clean. < You're diagnosis was correct although it was more likely brought on by stress or sometimes even for no apart reason.>     The very next day, I noticed that part of his tail was mottled and discolored.  My friend's Betta has recently recovered from a bought of fin rot, and my fishes looked like he might have fin rot too.  I started a treatment of Tetracycline for the rot because I already had some from a previous bought of fungus.  He's had two out of the three treatments that the box recommends.         I bought some "Nox-Ich" from a local pet store for the Ich.  I don't want to use it yet, because I've read that mixing medications will stress my fish out and make him worse.  I'm not sure what to do about the meds, but I've moved him from the large bowl to a smaller bowl today, and cleaned his bigger bowl (and the rocks) and made sure that I dried them with clean paper towels.  I'm letting the water sit for a day before I put him back, and I've added a drop of Nox-ich to the water. <You can safely use Maracide and Maracyn 2 together. Maracide is one of my personal favorites for Ich and Maracyn 2 will treat the fin rot. If you can't get these and have to treat just one problem at a time, treat the Ich first as it can kill him faster than the fin rot.>         Now my fish is in a small "Betta bowl". He has a great appetite, but his tail looks frayed, there are transparent strips in between more opaque strips.  The white spots seem to be going away, but my fish acts as though he's itchy.  He shakes his fins wildly and races about the bowl, then stops to rest and does it again.  If he could, I think he'd roll on his back and rub himself on the rocks!   <Yep, a common symptom of Ich. Some fish do this anyway but Bettas generally don't. It can be quite amusing to watch when the fish doing it isn't sick.>        He's active, but still sick.  Any advice you can give me as to how I should proceed from this point would be helpful.  I don't want make him even sicker from situational and medication stress.  Thank you very much for reading this letter. <The fact that he's still active is a very good sign that you should be able to beat this.> Me and Hermie (my fish) appreciate your time and advice. Sincerely, Jennifer <You're very welcome! Ronni>

Betta with Fungus Hello, <Greetings> I have had my male Betta splendens for about a year. He has previously been healthy but about a month ago I awoke to find the female Betta (also in his tank) dead with cotton wool disease and the male with just a spot of the same on one side. I immediately began treatment in a hospital tank and he has been symptom free for about 2 weeks. <Very good. Kudos to you for using a hospital tank!> He was looking alert and happy again and thinking we had overcome it, I replaced him in the tank with a new female and he was ok for a few days. Two days ago I noticed his mouth looks like it has been eaten away. There are big chunks missing and it sort of looks whitish but not cotton wooly. <Sounds like mouth fungus.> He also has developed a fin rot I think as his fins have decreased in size and condition practically overnight. <Not uncommon, especially when a fungus is present but you probably should check your water quality to make sure it's not a cause of the fin rot.> I love my fishy and I don't know what to do for him. The female looks very healthy and has no sign of disease. Currently I have separated the male and female and am treating the male with marine salts and BettaFix (a Melaleuca Tea tree Oil remedy for fin rot etc.). <BettaFix is a good medication but for this you will probably be better off using a specific fungus medication. Fungus Eliminator by Jungle is a good one and I have used it safely on my Bettas. There is also one made by Mardel that works well.> He seems no better and remains very listless but is still eating well. The tank is 10L heated at 26 degrees pH 7.2. It usually has a banana lily plat growing in it, but I don't have a filter or anything. My questions are: What is the mouth condition? Should I remove the plant? How can I treat the disease? <To medicate you are going to need circulation of some sort so a small filter (without carbon!) is recommended. The plant should be fine in there as long as you get a filter going.> Help me and fishy please!! Thanks Heidi, Tasmania, Australia <You're welcome! Ronni>

Sick Betta I have a Betta that I've had for less than 1 year. His belly has become swollen in the last month and he has become a little more aggressive. When he sees me near the tank he looks at me and moves his mouth like he is hungry. I feed him 5 bio gold pellets a day, 3 in the morning and 2 at night. Lately, he really jumps for his food. He is very active and swims around a lot. His scales don't seem to stick out (like the pine cone I've seen on the web.) Last night I treated the water with Betta max antibiotic and put a little bit of aquarium salt in the water. He is in a 2  1/2 gallon tank with a filter. I don't know what else to do. Please help me!!       <If he's eating the food you give him rapidly then you might try feeding him a bit more. As long as his scales aren't sticking out I don't think this is anything to worry about. Bettas will often learn to recognize their caregiver and will display to them whenever they approach that tank. Especially if it's feeding time. Ronni>
Re: sick Betta
Thank you for your quick response. I'm still concerned. He looks like he is going to blow up. His belly seems to be getting larger. The best way to describe him is he looks pregnant. He is still eating. The pet store told me 5 pellets a day is too much but that is what I've always fed him. Do you think it could be an internal infection? Thank you so much for your help, Chris <Check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm the related FAQ's and http://www/wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm to see if you find something that fits what he has. You may also want to check out http://www.bettastarz.com/ Please don't take this next question the wrong way but are you sure your fish is a male? I've heard reports of long finned females that look like males. If this is the case, she could be filling up with eggs. The surest way to tell is to look for the little Ovipositor, the white egg spot located on the belly, females have this and males do not. Ronni>
Re: sick Betta
Ronni, No, I'm not sure he is a male and his tummy is so swollen it is hard to see if there is a white spot there. His tummy seems to keep getting bigger and bigger. He is eating and he is active, all signs of good health. I checked out the links from you but didn't find anything I could relate him too. He looks like a picture of a Betta with dropsy but he is eating. <Definitely don't rule out dropsy. Some fish will continue eating even with this disease.> Last night I gave him a few frozen blood worms and he ate them. Maybe he is constipated but I don't know what else to do to help him. <If it's constipation feeding him the inside of a thawed pea will help.> Sometimes he swims fast and darts around but not crashing into the sides of the tank. The girl at the local pet shop (where I bought him 7 months ago) said he sounds like a maturing Betta, that some get chubby when they mature and it maybe he is hungry. <Chubby is one thing (and Bettas are known to get rather obese) but this does sound like something more.> He loves to see me and he jumps for his food but sometimes he seems agitated. I just don't know what else to do. < At this point, go ahead and treat him for Dropsy to see if his condition gets any better. That's about the only thing I can think of to do right now. At least until we can pinpoint exactly what the problem is.> I appreciate all of your help. Thank you very much, Chris    <Wish I could help more! Ronni>
Re: sick Betta
Hi Ronni I have been treating the Betta with tetracycline for 4 days now (it is a 5 day treatment) and I haven't noticed any change in the size of his tummy. He is still eating. Any suggestions? I will finish the tetracycline treatment unless you have a better idea. Thanks for all of your help. Chris <At this point I would just watch him. If his stomach begins to grow again, repeat the above treatment. One other thing you might do. Contact www.bettastarz.com and/or www.bcbetta.com These are Betta breeders that really know what they're doing and may have heard of or experienced this problem before. Ronni>

Bumps or lumps under skin of Bettas Hello; <Hi there> I have had one young Betta with one small cyst-like bump under his skin. Otherwise I could not detect any symptoms, and yet he eventually died. Now I have a more mature fish (still under 1 year) with larger lumps through the belly area. He is lopsided due to lumps in different places on each side. He is still eating and acting normally, but I am worried. Can you help? <It sounds like it's a parasite of some sort. Take a look at http://www/wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwfshparasites.htm and also http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betdisfaqs.htm for descriptions of the specific ones and their recommended treatments.> Thank you very much, Katherine Stuart <You're welcome! Ronni>

Plethora of Betta Maladies I waited patiently... I was about ready to move my aged Betta into his new home in a 5g tank, when I noticed that he had pop eye in his right eye about four days ago.  I decided that moving him while he was sick was a bad idea, so I started treating him with BettaFix (ingredients list says .2% Melaleuca, the rest is inert), the gal at the LFS said this would help.  She was concerned about my using anything else in his vase because his vase holds a half a gallon of water and said that she didn't want me to overdose him by not getting the conversions right. <BettaFix is a great product and comes very highly recommended by nearly every Betta breeder I've ever talked to.> I began treatment, and noticed that he'd stopped eating.  I wasn't too worried about this because I know that fish will sometimes stop eating when they're sick and a few days without food won't starve a Betta.  Then I noticed that there is a white slimy looking fungus growing around his mouth.  Today, I noticed that he's got fin rot. <Oops, now you may need to treat with something else instead.> Prior to all of these illnesses, the LFS ran out of the dechlorinating tabs I was using, I tried getting them for two weeks and finally ended up purchasing a bottle of ammo-lock2.  I'm not blaming the products themselves, but I think the change in dechlorinators caused a severe difference in my water quality and that is what has brought on the illness.  The bowl buddies added all sorts of weirdness to the water, I know that stress coat was added, and some other stuff that turns the water blue.  Ammo-lock2 doesn't have those additives.  It didn't even occur to me that this might be the problem until today.  Drastic change in water quality... fish under stress as a result... fish got sick.   <Very possible.> I'm loathe to change his water, because the bottle of BettaFix says to do a water change prior to treatment and then not change his water for seven days while the treatment is ongoing. I followed the directions and have been following them. <I would go ahead and change his water and then treat him again either with BettaFix (see if it specifically treats his symptoms) or a different medication designed to treat all of his problems. Possibly Maracyn and Maracyn 2. They can be given together safely. To treat a small tank I do the following: If the tablet treats 10 gallons *fully* dissolve it in 10 cups of water. Then, for every 1 gallon of your tank, add 1 cup of the medicated water. In your case, you would only add maybe ½ cup, probably a little less. I always err on the side of caution when doing it this way but have never OD'd a fish.> My questions are: Will the treatment be effective, even though I haven't remedied the situation with the water quality? <You should have good success with the above treatment.> Is it possible to save him at this point since he's a year old (at least, I've owned him for a little over a year now) and is fighting off three illnesses at once?   <Very definitely. Even though he's over a year old you still have a good chance of winning this battle as long as you don't give up on him.> Could all these illnesses be related to the same fungus? Am I treating with the right medication?  What more can I do? <See above.> I feel like such an idiot right now.  If only I'd found your site a bit sooner, if only I'd told my friend not to buy me fish because I knew nothing about them... *sigh* Thank you so much for your help.  All I wanted to do was give my buddy a better spot, with warm waters and sandy beaches, and I have inadvertently caused a disaster in the process of all of this. <You have no reason to feel bad at all! You've done everything possible and nobody would have guessed that just changing the water conditioner could have caused problems like this. As for getting a fish when you knew nothing about them, we all have to start somewhere and a Betta is a very tough fish and is a great intro to fishkeeping. Here are some links you can check out for more info on Bettas and their diseases/treatments. You might also contact some of these people, they may be able to give you more info than I can. http://home.rmci.net/robynrg/robynrg/BBC/BoiseBettaCo.htm (Robin is wonderful!) http://www.bcbetta.com/ (One of the most highly recommended Betta sites out there) http://www.bettastarz.com/ (The ultimate in Betta info!) Ronni>
Re: Plethora of Betta Maladies
Ronni, thanks so much for your help.  Unfortunately, Loki died last night. <I'm very sorry.> I guess, maybe I just caught the illnesses too late.  It kinda stinks... losing my first fish like this.   <It's always hard but even more so when it's the first one.> I'm not giving up.  I do have another Betta who's been healthy through all of this disaster with Loki and I have very pretty five gallon tank.  I know it's not much, but it'll be a great home for my other fish. <I'm sure your other guy will be quite happy in there. If Loki was in that 5g, clean the tank real good before adding this other guy. Just to be on the safe side.> You folks at WWM are wonderful.  I would never have gotten this far without you. <Very glad we've been able to help, just wish I could have helped more!> Thanks, now I feel the distinct need for chocolate flavored breakfast cereal... <Don't forget to add chocolate chips to it for that extra boost! Ronni>

Sick Betta!  Please Help!! Hello!  My Betta's name is Carrie-Charlotte!  My roommate and I love her more than we even knew, because last night we had quite a scare!  We suddenly noticed that she was floating on the top of the water on her side, with a huge bulge just under where her gills are.  I changed her water frantically and got her tank all clean.  When I came back, my boyfriend had done some research and (I think) found out what was wrong with her.  He told me that I had probably overfed her.   <Not likely, as a rule, most fish will not overeat (there are exceptions of course), they will eat what they want/need and will leave the rest to spoil. This of course causes the water to foul rather rapidly, especially in a Betta tank because they aren't usually filtered. An immediate water change was the best possible thing you could have done.> This is possible, because my roommate had taken her home over Xmas break, and when she brought her back... our fish's tail fin was half the size that it was before and she had lost a lot of color.  I figured that she had probably underfed her while she was on break.  So, I was trying to compensate (obviously a stupid idea). <Not stupid, a common mistake. :o) Never overfeed to compensate for underfeeding, this will only mess up your water. Feed the fish only what they'll eat in a few minutes and try to remove whatever is left (easier said than done but it's possible!). With Bettas, it's best to feed them small amounts several times a day. I know breeders who feed their Bettas up to 6 times a day. Aside from that, the tail being smaller was more likely the result of poor water quality rather than underfeeding.> Anyway, today the bulge is gone and she appears to be doing a lot better.  She is swimming around a lot and is very alert and responsive and looks happy.  However, she has lost a lot of color and I am still worried about her!  Do you have any further advice??  Thank you!! Ashley <Keep up with the water changes and watch her for any other signs of distress but I think that with excellent water quality her color will fix itself pretty soon. Ronni>

HELP! New Betta not doing well... My boyfriend and I bought a male Betta this afternoon, set up his habitat (3 gallon Eclipse w/ built in power filter).  He was doing very well for several hours, but now he is floating at the top, very listlessly.  The water temp. is 78 degrees F, we treated the water with Novaqua treatment.  We attempted to feed him Tetra tropical granules and he hasn't eaten yet.  Is he dying?  Please help us save him! Sincerely, Jorie Johnson <<When you placed him in his new tank, did you acclimate him in any way? Such as float his bag/cup in the new tank for a while and then add a little tank water to the water in his bag/cup and let him float for a while longer? This is highly recommended because of the differences in Ph and other factors. It's also recommended that you do not place any of the water from the store into your home tank. However, he is most likely just adapting to his new surroundings. When you get a new fish it's best to let them settle for at least a day before feeding them. Turning off the lights in their tank and having them in a quiet area can also help. Give him a day or two to adapt to his surroundings and he should be fine. Ronni >>
Re: HELP! New Betta not doing well...
<Ananda here today...> My boyfriend and I bought a male Betta this afternoon, set up his habitat (3 gallon Eclipse w/ built in power filter).  He was doing very well for several hours, but now he is floating at the top, very listlessly.   <Floating?? Is he moving at all? Do you have any tank decorations? We've found that our Betta (a female) truly loves to hang out in the heavily-planted portions of the tank. You might try adding some fake/silk plants for him to swim around and through.> The water temp. is 78 degrees F, we treated the water with Novaqua <Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwtips4beginners.htm and follow the FAQ links from here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsubwebindex.htm ... --Ananda> Sick Betta My coworker has had a blue freshwater Betta for many months that now seems ill. I am a saltwater hobbyist and follow your site, but I apologize for my lack of freshwater knowledge. <<No apologies necessary. We can't all know it all (although some of us like to think we do *G*)!>> The fish has always had a bit of washed out color in the head region, appearing a little tan/grey there. The tan/grey color seems more pronounced. The fish has not eaten for several days. He seems a little sluggish but not too bad. There is no scratching, and I do not see any wounds, parasites, or fungus. I cannot quote you water parameters as she does not test (room temp, no heater). However, she is a very diligent water changer at least twice per week. The fish is in a small 7L x 4W x 5H container (approx 1/2 g). Please advise on what you might think we could do, and also on what is the proper size tank for such a species. Is filtration necessary, or is the common habit of keeping these fish in non-filtrated bowls, etc. ok? Thank you for the feedback. <<Without knowing water parameters it's hard to say for sure. However, if the fish was purchased at a pet store or chain store and she's had him a while it is possible that he's just getting old. The average life span for a Betta is 2-3 years. Occasionally one will live much longer but this is very rare. Generally Bettas are around 6mos to a year old by the time they even reach the store that you buy them from so generally they will only live 1-2 years after that. Keeping him in a non-filtrated bowl is fine. Bettas have what's called a labyrinth organ and they breath by coming to the surface for air. Heat is recommended but not absolutely necessary as long as the heat in the room doesn't drop much at night. Ronni>>

Betta has "lump" and sinks Hello, I just ran across your site and I am very impressed with all the knowledge. <<Thank you very much!>> I have been looking for any information that might help me in my quest.  I have several Betta's (mutts) from the pet store and they are doing fine but a friend has one that I am baby sitting right now that has a lump on his side.  I guess the best way to describe it is it looks like someone shoved a pea down his throat it sticks out really bad on one side and then just slightly on the other side.  He is eating very well but doesn't get off the bottom of the bowl.  I have been treating him for swim bladder but it's now been 2 weeks without any change. <<The sitting on the bottom sounds very consistent with swim bladder disorder but I'm at a loss on what would be causing the lump. If you could send me a picture I may be able to tell more. If it is swim bladder disorder, this is very hard to successfully treat. Generally, regardless of treatment, the fish will continue to just rest on the bottom. However, the fish can and often do live very happily even with this problem. I had a female that lived for quite some time with it and she was one of the happiest Bettas I ever had. She always displayed the best colors and always got very excited whenever someone walked near her tank. I did have to make sure to change her water quite often as it became fouled very rapidly due to the low level I had to keep it at but that was the only exception I ever made for her.>> I started him on a treatment of AMPICILLEX  with the hopes that it was something bacterial.  But no changes yet. <<Epsom salts has been used successfully in some cases of SBD but most of the time there is nothing that can be done. It's worth a try though, use the Google search box at the bottom of www.wetwebmedia.com to search for either swim bladder or Epsom salts for more info.>> I am keeping in a very small bowl with just enough water to cover him plus about 1/2 an inch above him so he can get to air.  I am at a loss.  He did come from one of the "Betta death lily bowls" so I am not sure what kind of conditions he was in all the time but I am sure they were not good as I saw the plant and it was all full of fungus when she took him out.  Any help could be wonderful. <<Thank you (and your friend!) for rescuing him! These lily vases are quite beautiful but I feel so sorry for the poor fish that are kept in them. After reading this it's possible that he has a tumor of some sort due to the poor water quality that he was in before. Still do send a picture if possible though.>> Thanks. Sandra <<You're welcome. Ronni>>
Re: Betta has "lump" and sinks
After looking around on your page some more I found a picture of exactly what this guy looks like (except yours is a female. http://www.geocities.com/stariel25/sick.html I will start with the Epsom salt in the a.m. and hope (and pray) that does something.  Wish I knew if this female in the picture survived.  Thanks, Sandra <<Hmm... I'm still not positive even after seeing the picture. :o( It's possibly just a side effect of the SBD so try the Epsom salts and see if that helps. Sorry, I wish I could be of more help! Ronni>>
Betta has "lump" and sinks I thank you again for your information.  I am amazed and very thankful for your site, it is incredible.  I just have one small question.  I am keeping this guy in only about 1 cup of water total and how do I do a salt bath?  Is there a time frame as to how long he should or should not be in the salt? Thanks, Sandra <<If you mean a salt bath with aquarium salt then it should be done in a separate container and he should be left in for 3-5 minutes. If he starts looking overly agitated, take him out sooner. If you mean the Epsom salts I'm not sure as I've never used it, search www.wetwebmedia.com and you should be able to find the correct procedure. Good luck! Ronni>>

Sick Samson (Betta) Hey There! <HI!> I bought Samson a little over a year ago in a pet shop...many of his compatriots were in reprehensible condition, several were dead. He seemed arrogant and feisty, a perfect companion. We've had a marvelous relationship so far. He lives in a one-gallon tank all to himself, and I change the water pretty often and add anti-chlorine treatment.  I feed him a few little pellets usually in the morning and again in the evening...I had never heard of feeding betas live food...what do you suggest and where can I get it locally? <You could try feeding him blood worms, these are usually available at the local fish store, frozen bloodworms would work as well.> Also, recently Samson has developed what looks like a little white pimple on the top of his head. I have no idea what it is, or if it is an illness, and if it is how to treat it? If you could help me out I would appreciate it, seeing as how Samson means quite a lot to me. <probably nothing, but a quick net of the fish and swab of the spot with mercurochrome or iodine would be helpful. Best Regards, Gage> Thanks! -Halli

Re: My Betta (health) Thanks, I will try to do that.  I am treating him for fungus right now. The deposits are on his pectoral fins, again, mainly on one.  Maybe they are a little grayish/whitish.  Is all right to use aquarium salt and MarOxy together?  I'm only using the MarOxy right now. Thanks, Linda <Hi Linda, both the salt and the MarOxy can be used at the same time, just be sure to keep up on water changes. -Gage>

Re: Betta splendens Thanks! Do you recommend any treatments before I introduce it? Salt dip, etc? <Mmm, this time there's a bit of a chance of Ich introduction... especially if the specimen has been chilled... can you isolate it in a heated (and covered, they jump) container for a week or so? Oh, here's my bit on Betta splendens: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/betta_splendens.htm Bob Fenner>

Betta damaged? Please help... I have a Siamese fighting fish. A couple of months ago I accidentally hit his bowl while trying to swat a fly. He went berserk, swimming around frantically for maybe 10 seconds. Since then, he's been listless. He used to swim up to the bowl whenever I came to feed him or look at him and flare his fins if I put a mirror or picture of a Betta in front of him. Now he just lolls around. The pet store suggested changing his water & some copper drops. He's still the same but he stopped swimming sideways. My boyfriend thinks he got a stroke or something. Please help me fix my fish. There are no white spots or fluffy things or rotting fins on him. <I might try changing the water more frequently (with pre-made water sitting around for a week)... probably once a week or so. And maybe add a bit of live plant material (some choices posted on our site: WetWebMedia.com). But no to the Copper use... unnecessary and toxic. Do look into changing this animal's food as well... perhaps trying a bit of live worms, brine shrimp. Only time will tell if your Betta has suffered some degree of permanent neurological damage. Bob Fenner>

Betta Help Dear Bob , I have a 29 gallon tank and a number of question <Anthony Calfo in your service> My Betta has been sick with velvet for the last two weeks . when he first showed symptoms I put him into a hospital tank.  <should have stayed for 2-4 weeks (last five to seven days should have been symptom free)> Yesterday he was well and I decided to put him back into the 29gall tank to be with his friends, livebearers, Corys, Otocinclus. This morning he would not eat any Betta min, (his favorite) and just moped all day on the bottom. This is very unusual for this Betta and I want to know what is wrong. He is currently 15months right now.  <Ahhhh..... old age. Seriously. Considered by many to be an annual fish. Few if any Bettas live longer than 2 years> I tried to feed him supper but he would not eat again. How long can he stay without food? He was fine until I let him out of the hospital tank , may be he does not like the movement and aerator? should I move him back to the hospital tank? Or breeding net? Or should I let him be? <if not old age, the hospital tank would best> Is it okay to feed my other fish Betta min?  <absolutely> They seem to enjoy it very much. Can Tubifex worms (Wardley's, bought from Wal-Mart, dried) cause Ick?  <nope> I seem to have noticed that whenever I feed Tubifex worms my fish have Ick. If this is not the cause, what is it? <a coincident factor...often temperature fluctuations> Last month on of my Corys started shimming shaking tired and ill.  <often a lack of electrolytes... try a little salt in the water (1 Tablespoon per ten gallons)> After putting him into the hospital, he got worse I tried putting salt in the water 1tsp per gall as a progressive salt treatment. He then seemed better but after three days he died. Before he died he would float for hours on the surface of the water trying to gasp for breath. His chest was bright red, and his back wavy. Now my other Cory is having the same symptoms to( shimming shaking tired and ill) What is this strange disease? <not sure, the salt was a good move, but this sounds like it needs meds... bacterial or viral. Antibiotics would be in order> My last question is this. One of my male platys whom I have raised from babyhood is bulling the other fish. biting the Betta, ramming into the Otocinclus and terrorizing the others. Is this bad for the other fish? Should I separate him? <yes...the aggression is quite stressful and contribute to disease. Do remove this fish> Thanks a lot. Sincerely Alyssa <always welcome, Anthony>

Betta w/Popeye Hello Bob, I really hope you can help me with my Betta....He seems to have Popeye in just one eye... <asymmetrical exophthalmia... usually caused by blunt force trauma: a good bump into the glass or rockscape will do it> he is feeling fine and eating. But, my problem is that I have searched all over for a medication for this disease that will be able to be put into a 1 gallon bowl.  <may not even be a disease yet... bacterial if it is. At this point likely just a build up of fluid behind the eye. Add 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom salt and repeat in three days. Do water changes as usual (daily?)> All of the med's I have come across are for 10 gallon tanks... <use 1/10th of the dose. If one drop per ten gallons, then add the drop into a cup of water to dilute the medication and then only use one tenth of this solution> is there any thing that I can do? Could I crush the tablets up and add just a little to the tank without hurting my fish? I am a Newbie when it comes to Betta's but I have to say that this is the first fish that I have ever loved!  <understood my friend... I can empathize with your sweet empathy. Do try the Epsom salt (from pharmacy for soaking and laxative for people) first... a gentle tonic. Meds by third day if necessary> He's great and I would hate to lose him. Thanks so much, Cheryl <this ailment is easily remedied. Best regards, Anthony Calfo>

Possible fin and tail rot? shredded tail Bob, What is the appropriate course of action to treat a Betta whose tail is fine one day and the next is shredded? <if the fish is alone (no fin nipping) then we might assume a pathogenic infection. If limited to the extremities... the fins can be swabbed with iodine or Merthiolate. Else, look for a broad spectrum antibiotic like Furan-2 or Fungus Eliminator (Jungle brand). Water changes and slightly salted water will help too. Best regards, Anthony.> Many thanks Anthea

Seeking advice on sick Betta Hello, <Cheers, Anthony Calfo in your service> I was given your name/email address from Anthea ( - WildSpiritus on Aquamaniacs message board) as someone who might be able to help me and my sick Betta. Anthea thought that since you were giving her help with Morgana, perhaps you could shed some light on my situation. <will do my best> I have had a Betta, O'Toole, for a little over a year now.  <a good run for a beta by most measures. Considered to be an annual fish that rarely lives to see a second full year. No idea of how old it was on acquisition too> The problem started several months ago when he developed fin rot on a bottom fin.  <could be fungal or bacterial. Were the soft rays left unharmed but tissue eroded, or did all rot away (bacterial)?> I started him on Tetracycline which seemed to clear up the rot, but then it reappeared several days after stopping the medication.  <yes... it is really an outdated medication that many bacteria are resistant to> I followed the package directions and used TC caps by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. Since then, I've had him on and off medications for fin rot. Medications included another round of tetracycline, Melafix, Kanacyn (Kanamycin sulfate) followed package directions), and this biospheres stuff. Most would temporarily halt the fin rot but then it would come back again. <wow... that was sure one hail Mary cocktail of meds <smile>> The short of the story is that I didn't get it under control and it started creeping up his body.  <the Kanamycin is narrowly effective against most common pathogens in aquaria (although it is quite helpful above most others for certain diseases particularly of livebearing fishes), the Melafix is really topical at best (although I do like the product somewhat)... and I have no idea what the biospheres are about but I have my reservations already with a veiled name> The location of this is the belly area close to his tail end. When it started creeping up his body, I tried to dose with Kanacyn, one dose per day with no water changes for 5 days. I saw a little improvement but he couldn't seem to take the medicine and reacted by darting around the tank after the second day. So, I took him off this and started him on Maracyn/Maracyn II.  <Maracyn I is simply Erythromycin which is a gram-positive medication and quite useless for this symptom anymore. Maracyn II is simply a synthetic tetracycline an unlikely to help much more than the TC tabs from earlier> After several days of no improvement (in fact it looked worse) I switched him to BettaMax. Several days later he still looked worse as the redness continued to creep up his body. It looks like a skinned knee, an open wound, very similar to a picture of an ulcer. <wow... this fish has been dramatically overmedicated. I appreciate the fact that you are trying to save him, but some more time spent researching always helps. There is a very real concern of killing this fish with meds before the pathogen gets him. Water changes and salted water are the first course of action to stabilize this fish. Then a broad spectrum antibiotic or cocktail (Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone are a good choice together... like Fungus Eliminator by Jungle Brand> Not knowing what to do, I switched him back to Kanacyn, 1.5 doses per day with a 50% water change before each dose. Plus, I made medicated kana food and added an extra air stone. He seemed to be able to handle the treatment. For a few days I felt that he was getting better. The ulcer started looking cream colored instead of red. A few days after that, though, it started looking redder and worse. Plus, the rot kept creeping up his body. It is almost up to the dorsal fin and back to his tail. On day 8 of kana treatment, I added a dose of Melafix to the tank in hopes it would soothe the wound. It didn't and the wound only looked redder. At this point, it seemed like the kana wasn't working anymore. I felt as though I should switch him to a higher dose of kana or to something else. Because he had a hard time tolerating the kana a while back, I decided to switch to Furacyn (Nitrofurazone) at 2X the dose. 2 days later the rot was still spreading and now covers 1/4 of his body. It literally looks like his flesh is rotting away. <fair enough... although remember the Furan/Nitrofuran combo as a better way for suspected bacterial inflection in the future> Last night I upped the dose of Furacyn to 1/2 capsule. (The package states 100 mg of Nitrofurazone per capsule) Today, from what I could see, it doesn't appear to have spread anymore but it's hard to tell. I added some PolyAqua (by Kordon) into the tank today to help him heal. <yes... you need 3-5 days between evaluations to give the meds and healing a chance to be evidenced> The rest of the details, he is in a 1 gallon tank by himself with an undergravel filter and airstone, he is eating like a pig and has a great appetite, he is moderately active. He doesn't really act like a sick Betta for the most part. I use Amquel and Novaqua (by Kordon) as water conditioners. I normally do 100% water changes every week but it has been more frequent due to the medications. Usually every 5 days with partial (50%) water changes each day before the new dose of medicine. His water temp is around 75 degrees and I feed Betta bites as food. <we must also face the possibility that the slow healing and even onset of this disease is mitigated by old age. The fish could have been 6 months to a year old when you bought him and after a year in captivity is approaching old age. regardless though, I would continue with the Nitrofurazone only and keep up with small frequent water changes with 1 tablespoon of non-iodized salt per five gallons of water.> Any help is appreciated. I thank you for your time and consideration. Sincerely, Meg (bettamommy on Aquamaniacs message board) <best regards to you and O'Toole>
Re: seeking advice on sick Betta
I can't thank you enough for your reply!  <it is our great pleasure to be able to help> It means so much to get an opinion from an expert. I added the aquarium salt to O'toole's water last night and will keep up with the Nitrofurazone. Your question on the initial fin rot...it ate away his entire fin, so that would be bacterial. This morning I looked in on O'toole and I'm having a hard time telling if the wound has stopped spreading or not.  <likely a good sign: stabilization is the first stage before improvement> I'm hoping for the best. I was also wondering if I should make him medicated food or just keep him in the nitro bath? Thanks, Meg <there is a lot of debate over the efficacy of medicated foods. I'm inclined to favor them in support of primary measures (medicated long and short baths, swab, etc). Do feed the medicated food if you like and keep up with it for at least one full week (11-14 days preferably to exclusion). Kindly, Anthony>
Re: seeking advice on sick Betta
O'toole passed away today while I was at work. I just wanted to let you know the outcome. Thank you, anyway, for all of your help. Meg <alas...sorry to hear it, but rest assured this fish lived a natural and full lifespan, and your empathy and hard work does great respect to him and this hobby. kind regards, Anthony> 
Re: seeking advice on sick Betta
Thanks for the response, Anthony. You have a way of making me feel a lot better about the situation. At any rate, I observed O'toole last night. He still wasn't eating and I noticed his belly is bloated. The scales on his gills were sticking out.  <Not good signs... dropsical condition> This morning, it seemed the scales on his sides were starting to stick out, too. I'm thinking he may have developed dropsy or something. If (when) the time comes that I need to euthanize, what is a good method?  <I still favor the freezing method for fishes like Bettas> I have heard so many conflicting reports of what causes pain and what's good to use including vodka/water, freezing, clove oil (I'm not sure where I'd buy this...one site said drug store or health food store). What do you recommend? As always, I thank you dearly for your help. Meg <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm Bob Fenner>
Re: seeking advice on sick Betta
Hello, I'm afraid O'toole has taken a turn for the worse. <alas... it does/must happen at times> Yesterday at lunchtime, he was looking better and new fin was even starting to grow beneath the wounded area. However, upon my return home from work last night, the area was looking redder. I had just cleaned O'toole's water (100% with a hot water/salt scrub-down) less than 24 hours prior but decided to do a water test just to make sure things were ok. Well, for some reason nitrites were 1.0!  <stressed biological filters> So, I immediately put O'toole into a different bowl (this one holds about 1/2 gal of water) with conditioned water and a little salt and the appropriate amount of Nitrofurazone. I also added some PolyAqua (by Kordon; supposed to help healing).  <hmmm...really a stretch IMO> I moved him by scooping him up with wet hands and gently placed him into the next bowl.  <very good/empathetic> After he got into the bowl, a couple of chunks of skin with redness immediately fell off of his wound and left red areas. He wasn't very active after that and I left him in a darkened room to sleep and hopefully recover. This morning, he was laying on his side, breathing hard (he has been breathing harder than normal throughout this ordeal), only moving to go up for air or switch positions. He wouldn't eat any medicated food either this morning or at lunchtime. At lunchtime, I noticed a lot of flakes of skin on the bottom of the bowl. It seemed pretty yucky in there so, I moved O'toole gently back to his original tank, which was cleaned, filled with fresh conditioned water, Nitrofurazone, and a little PolyAqua. This has an undergravel filter which I thought would keep the skin flakes away from his gills. <agreed... but do resist such frequent moves with fish in the future... very taxing on their systems> Now my question, is there anything else I can do? I'm afraid that he is expiring and I should just make him comfortable. However, I wanted to check with an expert. Thanks. Meg <I do believe you have gone above and beyond the call of duty. You and O'Toole should indeed rest for a bit and let the situation play out. There are gentle ways to euthanize if you feel it is necessary. Else, leave it to nature. Kindly, Anthony>
Another Question: seeking advice on sick Betta
A friend of mine has posted this, was hoping you might have some insight. She may email you herself. Anthea <Anthea... yes! Thank you for passing it along. We were a day or so behind on e-mail but we did get both of your messages. An extensive (even if not optimistic) reply was sent to your friend. It will be posted on tomorrows dailies most likely. Best regards, Anthony> PS the status quo with Morgana is unchanged, still a good appetite, whatever it is still growing. I'll try to give an update. It all started several months back when O'toole had fin rot. From what I remember, I had him on tetracycline, Melafix, Kanacyn (followed package directions), and this biospheres stuff. Most would temporarily halt the fin rot and then it would come back. The short of the story is that I didn't get it under control and it started creeping up his body. A little new fin growth started, though, even in the areas that were infected, if you can believe that! The location of this is the belly area close to his tail end. When it started creeping up his body, I tried to dose with Kana, one dose per day with no water changes. He couldn't seem to take this and reacted by darting around the tank. So, I took him off this and started him on Mar I/MarII. After several days of no improvement (in fact it looked worse) I switched him to BettaMax. Several days later he still looked worse as the redness continued to creep up his body. It looks like a skinned knee, very similar to a picture of an ulcer. Then, I switched him back to Kana, 1.5 doses per day with a 50% water change before each dose. Plus, I made medicated kana food and added an extra air stone. He seemed to be able to handle the treatment. For a few days I felt that he was getting better. The ulcer started looking cream colored instead of red. A few days after that, though, it started looking redder and worse. Plus, the rot keeps creeping up his body. It is almost up to the dorsal fin and back to his tail. On day 8 of kana treatment, I added a dose of Melafix to the tank in hopes it would soothe the wound. It didn't and the wound only looked redder. This was last night. I wasn't sure what to do so I switched meds to Furacyn (Nitrofurazone) at 2X the dose. Tonight, it looks the same...still red. I think it started as fin rot, possibly went to septicemia, and now looks just like an ulcer! His flesh is literally rotting away. It also kinda looks like 'hole in the head' disease only at the tail end. Now, here's the really weird part. His appetite is great! His activity level is moderate. Completely opposite of what a dying Betta would normally be! He eats like a piggy and still flaps his fins at me. I am getting really scared. Nothing I try is stopping this rot and I'm afraid it's only a matter of time until it reaches organs. Please help. I don't know what to do anymore

Growth on female Betta I hope that you can shed some light on a problem that I am trying to solve. My female Betta has what looks like a growth that surrounds her right pectoral fin. I have used Maroxy and Maracyn, both for 10 days, and there is no change. <I see what I believe you are referring to. Looks to be a sort of tumorous growth. Not likely to be affected by external medications> Whatever it is has spread to her left pectoral now and I am at a loss to figure out what it is and whether it is a growth or something else that I can treat. Could you please help? I have attached 3 digital pictures and I can send more from different angles. Anthea <How old is this fish? Or, how long have you had it in your care? This specimen does seem pretty "girthy"... Does its ovipositor (like a white dot at the vent) ever protrude? What do you feed your fish livestock? Do you have any recent water chemistry, physical testing you can relate to me? Like pH, hardness of the system water. The first line of treatment here is nutritional... we will discuss this further. Bob Fenner>

Re: growth on female Betta Bob, I am aware that Bettas do not generally live longer than 2 years or so, I do know people who have had them for 5 - 9 years, believe it or not, an exception to the rule *smile* <Yes... I washed Betta bowls for two years (some involvement in the trade now! My hands are still dish-panned...) back in the 60's overseas. We had a few prized male breeders that were 4 to 5 years old> HBH do not make any medicated foods and when I looked at the tetra site, I was not sure which medicated food you were referring to. They have bacterial/fungal and parasitic, which do you suggest I start Morgana on? <The first, not the parasitic> Also, would it be beneficial for her to include frozen or live food in her diet?  <Yes, even to soak same in vitamin, HUFA supplements for fifteen minutes plus before offering> I try to feed them within my financial means and I will find a way to obtain these foods if it will benefit her. <Good> Returning to the medicated foods, should I use Romet B or one of the tetra foods? <I would utilize the Tetra antibacterial, ant fungal> Many thanks again for your prompt response. Anthea <You are welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>
Re: growth on female Betta
Bob, From what I have found out so far, the HUFA supplements are for marine life. Could I rather use the Kent Zoe Freshwater supplement? <You could, yes. Very similar> I have included an email link with a variety of options if this one is not a good one. If you could advise the best option I would appreciate it. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/sc_view.cfm?siteid=6&pCatId=4245 <Thank you for this. In my order of preference: Multi-Vit, Bio-Vit, Zoecon. Bob Fenner> Many thanks Anthea

Betta with Popeye Hi, <Hello> I bought a Betta in a vase with water lilies and thought it was cruel, so I bought it an eclipse 2 gallon tank with filter. I only use spring water and change his tank every two weeks. I feed him flakes in the morning then a treat in the evening of dried blood worms. For some reason yesterday I noticed that she was acting strange. Just sitting on the bottom of the tank and only coming up to the surface and then right back down. Then I noticed last night that her eye looked bigger. So I went on the web and discovered Popeye. It said that the fish will get this when there was is dirty, but the water is always changed. I tested the water and everything is normal. Anyway I couldn't treat it last night because all the pet shops are closed and aren't open again till today around noon. I read one of your advices on Popeye and just put in a 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom salt. I will go out today and get Ampicillex or Maracyn-two. Should I give her any of these today seeing as how I gave her Epsom salt? Any how long will it take for this to clear up? Do I need to change her tank before I start giving her the medication? And during the medication?? Any questions answered would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Tina <When you change the Betta's water are you changing all of it or just some? It is going to be less stressful for the fish if you only do a partial water change. I would continue with the Epsom salt and if does not improve in a week or so then I would consider medication. I would continue to do partial water changes every couple of days, adding the salt back in with the new water. Best Regards, Gage>

Betta, Pop-Eye, Septicemia... trouble I have a Betta and I think that he might be stressed. why, because one of his eyes is popping out and he got smaller in size ..and it is red what should I do? <Hello, check out the link below, especially the messages regarding Popeye http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettafaqs.htm let us know if you have any more questions. -Gage>

Anaconda's Legacy (Betta trouble) Hi. I just sent you guys an email maybe twenty minutes ago or so, about my Betta, Anaconda.  Unfortunately, whatever his ailment was just claimed his life.  I looked through some information on the web and found some articles about pop-eye and hole in the head disease, both of which looked like a fitting diagnosis for Anaconda.  Both of which are caused by dirty water. <Good water quality can prevent many fish diseases and other potential problems> If I have the heart to get another fish, maybe in a while, I'll take better care of him, keep his tank cleaner.  I feel terrible and I'm very upset. I killed my fish. I'm sorry, little 'Conda buddy. KB <Well, KB, as tragic and upsetting as Anaconda's death was, you are really learning some things about husbandry and care of fish which will assure that his death  was not in vain. The compassion and empathy that you have shown Anaconda will carry into your future aquarium endeavors. The fish that will enjoy long lives while in your care in the future will have Anaconda to thank for the lessons that you learned. This will be his legacy. Good luck-keep reading- keep learning- you'll be okay! Scott F.>

How to save your Betta fish Hey Bob, I've had a blue Betta for almost a year now.  <wow... close to a full lifespan. They are considered annual fishes with most never living to see 2 years old. It was several months old at purchase no doubt> And he got sick the other day I didn't know what was wrong with him. I cleaned his tank as usual and feed him like usual. But he seemed to be getting worse and worse. His spine was crooked and he could only swim with his front little fins and not his tail.  <its a bi@ch getting old> And he just slowly hung around the surface and wasn't able to swim down very far. I personally thought he was dead myself and I hadn't given him a name yet in the year that I have had him. So I named him Garth after my most favorite country singer ever. I named him so when or if he would have died he would have a name. But I wasn't ready for him to die so I was looking on the internet to see what I could do to save him. I ran upon your site and read it and I read stories about how people have bought all these things for their Betta's and I only bought him for $1.99 and the stores were closed for the night so I couldn't buy anything to help him. By this time my fish had no resemblance of being blue he pretty much was dead. Then I remembered I had never spent any actual time with him in the year that I had him. I would just feed him and leave him alone. So I decided why not carry him around with me for awhile. We both sat by the computer and talked to people on the computer and after an hour or so the tips of his fins were starting to turn blue again. And he swam to the bottom of his little tank for the first time since he had been sick.  <indeed... pc hardware does produce heat> Then came bedtime and I was still worried he wouldn't make it through the night even though I had spent time and given him a name. And the next morning he looked good and I knew he would make it. He still wasn't his old self quite yet but he finally got back to normal.  <excellent somebody in the house should be <G>> So if you ever have a sick fish and it looks like it's going die just spend some time with it instead of spending a bunch of money on it when it's not necessary. I've learned this with advice from some friends of mine. Justin <your empathy is greatly admired. You will continue to be a fine aquarist. Best regards, Anthony>

Betta with a dot in eye Hi- I'm fairly new at aquarium keeping, so please bear with me... <No worries, we all started somewhere!> I have a 3 gallon Eclipse aquarium (carbon filter and bio filter) with a Betta and three small Corys. I've had the Betta since Sept., and the Corys are new inhabitants- just arrived a week ago. Sometime ago I had a problem with Planaria, which I have since managed to keep under control (haven't seen any around). I figured I was feeding my Betta too much flaky food that just lodged in the gravel, and wasn't making enough water changes at first. I increased the water changes to every 3-4 days. Once I got the 3 little Corys, I increased them to 2-3 days. I'm teaching myself not to overfeed the fish (Betta is on different pellet foods, which he eats right away- and I give the Corys catfish wafers (crushed, 'cause they're little) and think I'm finally doing ok. I take out the chlorine/chloramines with a Waverly product, and usually add a little aquarium salt to the water, every 2 changes, or so. I have a heater set at 78 degrees, all readings are good, and the Ph is 7.4 (possibly a little higher). My problem is- my Betta has a white dot on/in each eye. It almost looks like an air bubble, but it's too obviously white. It's not filmy, and he does not have any other dots, symptoms, other that slight discoloration on his gills- but this only appears after he's been flaring a lot at his own reflection. I don't know what to do. Could this be Ich? But if it's Ich, would it appear like that on both his eyes and nowhere else on him? Could it just be lighting- but I would have noticed before- there is a dot on/in (I can't really tell) each eye that wasn't there yesterday! I read about pop-eye, and eye flukes, stress due to too many water changes... but he is eating well, swimming about normally...And the other three fish seem to be fine. I'm afraid to medicate without knowing exactly what this is and hurting fish that aren't sick. I'm also sacred of waiting too long and wasting precious time. I've attached a picture of him, and in it you can see the white dot in his right eye. I noticed it today. Please help me. I love my little fishies. Thanks- Vik <Alright Vik, you are loving your fish a little too much. From what you write there are two causes I would look at. One, this many water changes introduces minute bubbles into the water that can be fatal or lodge in thin mucous membranes like eyes. I would test for ammonia/nitrites to be sure your filter is handling the load and nitrates to indicate when to change water. Your water should be aged and aerated for 12-24 hours, tested for pH and heated before use. You also mention your Betta "flaring" with his own reflection. If he spars with his reflection and hits the glass or rubs on the glass this could also cause this problem. Ick would likely appear on other areas before the eyes. I would think water changes every two to three weeks would be a normal interval with normal feeding. See if this doesn't help.  Good test kits can help you see what's happening to your water. Please write if you need further assistance.  Craig>

Follow-up to: I THINK MY BETTA IS DYING... Hello Bob, <Hi Ron> I want to thank you again for your quick, kind, and good advice a couple of weeks ago (please see our previous communications below). I'd like to update you on my Betta's condition.  He is still alive, but not very energetic, until I drop some food in his tank, and then he goes right for it.  However, he spends most of his time lying on his side and floating, unable to submerge unless he swims really hard and jams himself under the leaf of a plant to keep from surfacing.  I have been feeding him bloodworms and Betta bites. I have changed his water and made sure to add salt and stress coat, and have tried to keep his water temperature in the low 80's. Also, at the suggestion of one of the people on your web forum, I treated his water with the anti-biotic Maracyn 2 for 5 days, and then changed his water.  He does not seem bloated, so I can't understand why he is so buoyant.    Is he just dying slowly and I have to just accept it, or is there perhaps something else I can do to restore his equilibrium/neutral buoyancy and/or his energy?  Again, thank you very much. <Let's try adding some Epsom Salt to your Betta's water. Just about as much as will cover a quarter per quart. This "cathartic" may help "move" your fish to health. Otherwise, all you list, the food improvements, elevated temperature, antibiotic use... is what I would have done. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Ron M.
Follow-up to: I THINK MY BETTA IS DYING...
Thanks Bob, The salt I have already put into the bowl is "Doc Wellfish's Aquarium Salt for freshwater fish".  Is this the same as Epsom salt? <No. This is sodium chloride, "rock salt". A good practical treatment, but not what you want to try now> If so, when I last changed his water (on New Year's Day) I added just about the amount you suggest (assuming that when you say enough to cover a quarter per quart, that you mean the coin).  He lives in about a gallon of spring water (non-aerated).  Should  I add more? A lot more? <About four times the coverage of a coin/quarter of Epsom> I assume this is a salinity/osmosis thing? <More... a muscle relaxant... laxative of sorts>   Do I need to reach a critical threshold or something? <Not really... this situation is more of a successive approximation> If Epsom Salt is different, then I'll go out and get some today, but will its effect be different because of the salt already in the tank? <No problems in mixing... it's sold in most all food, drug stores> Sorry for all the questions, but I want to make sure.  Thanks. Regards, Ron M. <Welcome, Bob Fenner>

Popeye I recently found your site and have to compliment you and the crew for an incredibly informative site. I've learned so much more here on specific topics, like Popeye, than I've been able to find surfing many, many sites in search of answers and information. I have a 9-month old Betta that has been battling severe Popeye for almost 2 months now. I think it started as bacterial Columnaris which I finally got rid of, and since then have been doing the Maracyn II or tetracycline but the eye (one eye only) has only worsened. I read on your site about Epsom salt and am going to try that since my poor guy has been overmedicated. Someone on a message board on another site said she's never heard of Maracyn II not curing Popeye, and she recommended I contact a vet specializing in fish. My question is, my guy's eye initially started hemorrhaging, then burst underneath and now above the eyeball. There is a huge amount of white matter exposed and it is swollen to nearly the size of his head. It is grotesque and beyond anything I've read about to date. He stays at the surface, doesn't move much but responds to me and does still eat and isn't in distress. I keep his tank warm and clean. I fear the damage is almost to the point where it will just either explode or rot off. At this point, what do you recommend? Could the eye membrane which has burst so badly, ever heal itself? I understand it can take a long time and I'm going to be patient. Do you still think Epsom salt is worth doing since it's probably bacterial? I always add aquarium salt. Thank you! Wanda <Hello Wanda, this case sounds like it will need a little more than Epsom salt.  Maybe Furazolidone and Nitrofurazone based meds (like Jungle brand Fungus Eliminator). The eye is probably lost but the fish can live.  Best Regards, Gage>  
Hi, <Hello> I've really found your website informative and helpful.  I got my Betta about 2 and half years ago, so I understand that he may just be old and ready to die.  However, I don't want him to die if I can somehow prolong his life, so long as he is not suffering. <I understand, and agree> For six weeks or so, he has been having a lot of problems with positive buoyancy.  He tries hard to submerge, but then floats back to the surface.  I feed him BettaBites (about 3-4 pellets every day or two), and he has always thrived on them.  He used to like worms, but has rejected them for the past six months.  His bowl water temperature has not changed, it's always around 77 degrees, and I change it every 2 weeks.  The pet store suggested I use some salts and stress coat. <Good advice>   I tried these last month and they seemed to work, but now they don't seem to be helping.  This problem was intermittent and sometimes seemed related to feeding (i.e.- after I fed him, he would then experience the buoyancy problem), but now the problem is constant and it seems that nothing is helping.  He tries to lodge himself beneath the leaf of a plant sometimes, but that's the only way he can stay down.  He also is lacking his usual motility. <I would try some live food again... perhaps brine shrimp, Tubificid worms... and elevate the temperature to the low eighties F.> Any ideas, comments, or suggestions?  Should I just accept the fact that he's old and dying?  If so, should I consider the euthanasia techniques I've read about on your forum, or should I just let nature take its course? <Other than the suggested changes, I would do the last. This fish is quite old for the species. For a few years as a boy I washed Betta bowls... some of the favorite "old breeders" got to be three-four years old... but not many did. Bob Fenner> I thank you in advance for your speedy reply. Sincerely, Rem
Re: I THINK MY BETTA IS DYING... Thank you very much for your quick reply and good advice.  I will follow your suggestions.  Happy Holidays. <Good luck, life to you my friend. Bob Fenner> Sincerely, Ron M.

My Betta My male Betta fish has "deposits" on his fins....mainly on one.  They look like cotton deposits, but are just about the color of him (deep purple).  He has not other physical symptoms, and eats great, and is active.  I've looked through all common diseases, and haven't found anything that resembles this, so am not sure how to treat it.  Can you help me? <Hello, it is hard to say without seeing a picture of the fish.  Check out our FAQs on Bettas and see if anything sounds familiar.  If possible send us a picture.  Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettafaqs.htm >

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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