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FAQs on Betta Diseases: Environmental 2 (the most common cause)

Related Articles: Betta Diseases, Betta Systems, Anabantoids/Gouramis &Relatives, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish , Improved (Better?) Products for Bettas!,

Related FAQs: Environmental 1, Environmental 3, Environmental 4, Environmental 5, & Betta Disease 1, Betta Disease 2, Betta Disease 3, Betta Disease 4, Betta Disease 5, Betta Disease 6, Betta Disease 7, Betta Disease 8, Betta Disease 9, Betta Disease 10, Betta Disease 11, Betta Disease 12, Betta Disease 13, Betta Disease 14, Betta Disease 15, Betta Disease 16, Betta Disease 17, Betta Disease 18 ,Betta Disease 19, Betta Disease 20, Betta Disease 21 Betta Health 22, Betta Health 23, Betta Health 24, Betta Health 25, Betta Health 26, Betta Health 28, Betta Health 29, Betta Health 30, Betta Health 31,
Betta Disease Causes/Etiologies: Determining/Diagnosing, Nutritional, Viral/Cancer, Infectious (Bacterial, Fungal) , Parasitic: Ich/White Spot, Velvet; Senescence/Old Age, Cures/Curatives/Treatments,
Bettas in General, Betta ID/Varieties, Betta System, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling, Betta Behavior, Betta Compatibility FAQs, Betta Selection, Betta Feeding, Betta Reproduction,

New Print and eBook on Amazon

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Sick Betta- Tried everything with no luck.... May be BGA...   2/27/12
I am an avid reader and am so thankful to have found your site last year. I am desperate need of help. I've looked through the site and was unable to find a situation similar to mine. I have a big, beautiful red Betta. Tank specs: 5 gallons, heated between 76-78 degrees, filtered, gravel bottom, 2 live plants (both ok for Bettas) 1 synthetic plant to help keep current from filter slower. I do a 25% water change at least every two weeks, and a 50% water change once a month. I use a water conditioner and aquarium salt.
He gets a varied diet of Betta pellets and shrimp. I have studied and researched your site to try and provide him with the best care possible. Up until now he was happy, healthy and playful. In fact I was able to nurse him though a bout of Ick when I first got him with your knowledgeable help.
About a month ago I noticed dark green algae
<This might well be a Blue-green... Cyanobacteria... can be quite toxic>
 starting to grow in his tank. I tried to manage it by cleaning the spots that showed up when I'd do his water change. It got to be worse than normal so I decided to take him out and clean out the tank and gravel. I am very careful about contaminants and do my best to keep things as stable as possible in such a small system. After adding him back into the tank he was in bad shape in less than 24 hours.
<I further suspect BGA... becomes more toxic w/ attempts to remove>
At first I though it might be a stomach problem, minor swelling on his belly. I treated by adding aquarium salt to reduce the pressure and didn't feed him for several days. No change. He was and is spending considerable time on the bottom of the tank and at the top on his plants. He seems to have difficulty swimming, unable to stay at the top of the water, sinking back down.
Next I tried just maintaining his usual routine and keeping the water conditions normal as they had been, hoping he would normalize.
<This is what I would have done as well>
 He seemed to get a little better and was eating regularly again, if not as much- would float back down after two or three bites. Now he's in worse shape and the algae is back. He hasn't eaten or responded to me in the last two days now. I'm worried he's suffering and I'm at a complete loss. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do? And if not, how best to end his suffering painlessly. Thank you for your time.
<Mmm, please read here for background:
I might go the extreme route here of removing the fish... tossing the live plants... bleaching the entire system... rinsing, re-filling... and moving the fish through a few rinses (to discount the conveyance of BGA spores) to eliminate the Cyano. Bob Fenner> 
Re: Sick Betta- Tried everything with no luck....   2/28/12

Thank you so much, Bob! I went through and read the posts about the BGA- nasty stuff. I'm pretty sure now that that is exactly what it is.
<Was/is my best guess>
The tank has been getting more sunlight recently and I wondered if that was causing the algae to grow.
<Could well be>
 I know algae is common in tanks, but I wondered if this was a type that was harmful to the fish.
<There are bio-assays... I think you've been doing one>
 I'm going to remove him from the tank, bleach the system as you recommended and start fresh with the plants. I hope it's not too late and that I can get him to bounce back. I really appreciate your time to email me back. The amount of time and research that you all put into the website is phenomenal. It is so reassuring to know that there is a credible,
reliable source that I can trust.  Take care!
<And you my friend. BobF>
Re: Sick Betta- Tried everything with no luck....   Non-aq. plants     2/28/12

Hi again. I have one last follow up question. I've gone and bleached the system, replaced the gravel and added new plants (umbrella plants).
<Mmm, what is this... the scientific name? There are several popular "aquarium" plants sold that are actually not aquatic>
I picked up a new filter- Tetra whisper 10i internal power filter. It says it works with up to 10 gal tanks. It looks to be a little bigger than my previous filter, also a Tetra whisper. I'm concerned that its too strong for him, especially right now when he is not at full health.
<Likely is fine>
I've placed the plants around the filter to try and disperse the flow, I'm not sure its enough. I'm also torn because I know that the more water movement, the better to keep the BGA from growing again. Unfortunately it doesn't have a flow control. I've read through the filter posts and seen that both the gravel filters and sponge filters are recommended for Bettas.
<Or small internal or external power filters... there are even smaller units>
 I don't think I'll be able to find those in my area.
<Can be ordered via etailers like Dr.s Foster & Smith (.com)>
 I know I can order them online, however my main question is this: should I leave the filter off in the meantime?
<Yes; I would>
Second: What do you personally recommend for a filter for a 5 gal Betta tank? He's a pretty big Betta and used to be a strong swimmer...
<Mmm, you could just search w/ the string "Betta system filters"... Whisper 3i...>
Thank you again for your advice!
<Not advice; and this may seem something similar, but what I'd likely do given the stated circumstances. BobF>
Re: Sick Betta- Tried everything with no luck.... Non-aq. plants     2/28/12

In regards to the plants, they're Top Fin from PetSmart- growl - I did add some semi-aquatic Golden Ribbon plants (Dracaena variegatus?)
<This genus is terrestrial... see WWM re... the search tool>

 to float on the top which I've used before without any issues I thought, and the umbrella plants (were sold to me as aquatic, growl again. I'm not sure on the scientific name, but they do look similar the Anubias plants?).
<Also not likely truly aquatic>
 Looking on the posts regarding stocking tanks with live plants I see that PetSmart and Top Fin have used non-aquatic plants? For crying out loud, I am so disgusted with those people.
<Yes; unfortunately>
 I won't go into detail the problems I've had with them and the horrible information I've received- I've gone back after speaking with them and researched on your site to find that the information was just bad.
Unfortunately, I'm in Montana and at this point I have very little resources for my fish. Is there an online resource for good quality live plants?
<Quite a few actually. Search... read Aquariumplants (.com)>
Or is there at least one thing that PetSmart might have that would be safe for my guy?
<My fave: Ceratopteris>

 I am going to check and see if they have any of the following grasses by any chance: Anacharis/Elodea/Egeria, Myriophyllum/Parrotfeather, Ceratophyllum/Coontail. >
<These are too cold-water to be of tropical use. B>

Male Siamese fighter fish. Cats, in uncycled sys. 2/19/12
I have recently set up a freshwater aquarium. Left it running for four days after set-up before introducing any fish.
<Not long enough... Not "cycled"... Read here please:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
I added in a male Siamese fighter fish and three glass catfish
<... will soon be dead very likely>
five days ago. The Siamese fighters underbelly has started to turn a silver colour, around the gills and just below them, he also looks slightly swollen around that area. He is still active and feeding. This is my first tropical aquarium and having searched through Betta diseases and cures, I still can't pinpoint what could be the cause of this. Your help would be much appreciated.
Thank you.
<Do read; write back if you have further questions. Bob Fenner>

Little fin colored bumps on his tail 2/5/12
Hi everyone. I have a little problem. A few weeks ago, my crown tail Betta (Dinner), developed a couple of tiny pin-head bumps on his tail fin. Before he developed those bumps, I've also notice a "break" at the tip of one of the tail fins. Like how a stem attached to a leaf had been broken and it's hanging there. He's eating fine, swimming energetically and bowel movements are good. He hasn't made any nests for a while though. I do a 50% water change every week for his 3 gallon tank that doesn't have a filter or heater (room is very warm).
<Needs to have both a heater and filter. There are small units made for just such settings>
And, I also wash all the rocks and a fake fabric plant (with very hot water) before I do his water change (de-chlorinated tap water) every other week. He doesn't look like he has fin rot, or any other symptoms of other illnesses except for what I've described. Unfortunately, I've been looking online for days and still haven't found an answer. What could this be?
<In two words: environmental stress. Read here:
and the linked files above>
Thanks for your time and help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Little fin colored bumps on his tail 2/7/12

Thank you very much for your help ^_^
<Welcome. BobF>

Betta diagnosis, uncycled system... 2/5/12
My Betta has a *white under his fins area*, like the one in the picture found at this link:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/betdisfaq7.htm (mine is a blue male)
I'm *currently cycling the tank*, just started yesterday. I have two Corys in there with him, and I hope they make it.
*10 Gallon* with gravel. I was suggested to use Nutrafin cycle (biological aquarium supplement) to help ease the process for the fish.
<This Hagen product is too "hit or miss"; do look for Dr. Tim's "One and Only" (formerly BioSpira); a steady worker>
What do you think is *wrong with the Betta*?
<Can't tell from the information offered, no image... Could be just normal coloration... Shouldn't be in a system that's not cycled... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Thank you!

Betta fish with cut on his face?? 2/2/12
Hi there! I was wondering if you could possibly help me figure out what's going on with my King Betta, Hindenburg... I've had him about 4 or 5 months
now and haven't had any problems with him so far. He eats like a PIG and is very personable, and wants to eat anytime he sees me feeding my cats. He's a pretty cool little dude.
I have him in a 1.5 gallon tank, and I change the water out every 2 weeks or so. He has one plant in there that's got some very flat, pointed leaves.
It's supposed to resemble bamboo I guess. The tank is on the bottom shelf of a small bookcase in my bedroom, and the shelf is the perfect size so my cats can watch him swim around, but can't open the lid or reach around the tank to swat at it. (not that they try...they really just like staring at him. And he stares back, haha.) But with it not being up at my eye level, I hadn't noticed anything different about him until last night, I thought his face seemed a little misshapen when I fed him. I didn't think too much of it, but tonight I actually sat on the floor to feed him and noticed he had what looks like a rather large gash across the side of his face. That DEFINITELY wasn't there last time I checked. He is swimming normally, and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with him anywhere else. (The red in his eye is normal...he has brown/blue eyes and the flash makes them look redder than they really are) His appetite is voracious as usual. I just now cleaned out his tank, added some salt, and took out the plant because I'm worried he cut himself on it. Is that possible? Or does it look like something else? I Googled "fish lacerations" and that really didn't help at all...
I attached a picture. Hopefully you can help me figure out what this is and what to do for it!
Thank you in advance for your help!!
Ashley LaRue
<Does appear to be a "bend" in the gill operculum... perhaps from a run in w/ the plant or jumping (do make sure there's a top, or the water level down a bit... Nothing I would do to actually treat this Betta. Just good care and time going by. Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta fish with cut on his face?? 2/3/12
Thank you so much! Should I bother with Melafix?
<No; see WWM re this tea oil; of no real use>

I have some on hand...
Definitely replacing the plant with something not so sharp! The Betta who inhabited the tank before him was very lazy and didn't move hardly at all, but he's very active and robust and does swim through the plant sometimes.
I should have known better!
<No worries. BobF>

Injured Betta 12/28/11
<Hi there>
We have a Betta who is about a year old and up until recently seemed to be in good health. My problem is that it appears one of my cats has mauled him.

His fins are just about shredded. We have isolated him in our small five gallon and have put in some aquarium salt and bettafix. He is still able to swim and is not having trouble getting to the top for air. My question I suppose is will the injuries he has kill him?
<Maybe not>
We did have the water tested and we do regular water changes. He was previously in a tank with a female Betta, a zebra Danio and a couple of neon tetras. Just wondering is there a possibility he will recover?
Should we just wait and see?
<Yes; is what I'd do>
Is there anything else we can do for him? We generally feed flakes and bloodworms for a treat.
<Nothing else I would do. Bob Fenner>

Bettas... Sys. 12/25/11
I have several crown tail Bettas and a veil tail Betta, all do very well.
We have now tried the delta tail and double tail and have had no luck. Both wound up dying.
<Mmm, all the same species, degrees of hardiness>

The fins seem to start fraying or splitting and not long we loose <lose> them. The one delta tail we have left is now starting to loose his fins in back. they look like they are just fraying or melting, splitting etc. They are not very bad at the moment but are getting worse. I have tried several things, Maracyn 2, Maracyn Plus, Revive, salt and heat to no avail. They have 2.5 gal. with an AZoo filter which I like because you can cut the flow way down so as not to bother them to much. I do weekly water changes. Most have been 100% changes with full cleaning.
<Umm, do you measure aspects of nitrogenous accumulation? Likely simple ammonia (and/or nitrite) accumulation are killing these fish>

I have changed and only do 25% to maybe 50% changes. I have 2 crown tails in 1 gal. jars w/no filter,
<Need to clean more often and/or have filters>

2 crowns in 2.5 gal. tanks w/filter, plants etc. All with haters ,lights etc. All of these are at least a year old. No problems. We have now have a delta tail which we do not want to loose with this tail problem like we lost the others. This will be the 3rd one we have tried ,the other 2 died delta and double tail. I am at wits end. Nothing seems to work or I have not used the right meds.Melifix
makes the fins worse very quickly,pimafix did no harm nor help. I didn't expect much from those anyway but was not expecting Melafix to make it worse. I am lost for a cure. Can you suggest anything?
<Yes. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm
scroll down to Bettas... Systems...>
Is it just in the jean <Heeee!> of these type of tails for this fish?
In need of help,
<Just reading/understanding. Bob Fenner>
Re: Bettas 12/25/11
Thanks for a quick response. I find this information as of no help.
<Don't write. READ where you were referred>

The fish that has bad fins is in a 2.5 gal. tank, cycled. Temp set and maintains 80F constant. Ph. at 6.6 -7.0 0 ammonia and nitrate levels. softness around 8.
I use partial water from a neon ,10 Gal, tank that is filtered with super peat to soften water. The 2.5 Is filtered with an aazo palmer filter.
I have tried changing water twice a week with 50% changes. His fins stay in recession and are gradually getting worse. If I can't find a cure that works we will eventually loose him also. I have other bettas in jars and been there for at least a year and are doing great. So the Betta with bad fins is in a Hilton compared to the others. We have a total of 8 Betta's. Some in jars, some in 2.5 filtered tanks. The others are Crown Tails and Veil Tails.
The only trouble we have every had is with the Double and Halfmoon Tails that get this on there tail fins and so far we have found no help or cure.
So if prime water conditions are not helping is there any other course of Action I can take. Are there any Meds. that I have not tried that could possibly lead to a cure? I use regular pea size gravel for substrate as with all my tanks. The water is in Prime condition so I do not feel this is the problem. If it were we would see it the other fish as well, I could be wrong. I have not tried Maracyn?????????? Maracyn 2 yes but not plain Maracyn.
Do you think that might help or would that be a waste of money also?
Thanks so much for your help and hope we can find something that works,

My sickly Betta, env. 12/5/11
Hi, may name is Jayme, and i have a 1.5 year old Betta, names Jericho.
The last few days i have noticed the colour of Jericho start to turn a pinkish colour on his usually blue/ red fins, and his colour start to drain on hit blue/green body.
I have had issues with fin rot before, and have treated it. And his back fins seems to have gotten smaller over the past few days, again.
<... is this system heated? Filtered?>
He is either hanging out at the bottom, or hanging out at the top where he can get air easily. He also seems to have lost some weight, and looks more frail than ever. When going to change his water today, i noticed some odd coloration by his gills, an almost white/pink colour. When i went to feed him today, he would pick up the food, then spit it back out. This is odd for him, because usually he is the first to eat everything put in there.
The underside of his head seems to be tuning grey as well as the bottom side of his whole body.
I don't understand what is happening, because before this he seemed like a fairly happy fish, only have the occasional problem which could usually be fixed usuaing bettafix.
<Worse than worthless IMO>
And also, over the last few water changes, i have been noticing a fine layer of scum over the top of the bowl,
<Environmental... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
and the linked files above>
a very clear layer that you don't even know is there, until you take it off..
I thank you very much if you can help me, i don't want him to die.
<The problem here is lack of suitability of the environment... Betta splendens need clean, consistently warm/tropical water. Can't live long or well in bowls in most all cases. Bob Fenner>

Bubbles the Betta
Bubbles the Betta env/health 12/1/11

Hello!! <Hiya!>
I am writing on behalf of my 7 year olds Betta fish, Bubbles. He is a male veiltail that I bought approximately 2 months ago. He has now lost his vivid blue color, and I fear he is becoming ill and want to help get him well. <Okay, identifying that there is a problem is half the battle>His tank is a 1 gal, has a peace lily, glass stones, no other fish. <Yikes! Less than ideal conditions. This Betta is a vase fad is really cruelty to the fish.> I was told at the pet store not to use a filter, as the sound stresses Bettas. <Oh no! Not the case, You don't want dramatic flow that will blow the fish away but you do need filtration to keep the water clean and stable.> I change about 30-50% of the water weekly and replace with Poland spring water to which I always add a Fizz Tab Water conditioner and let the new water sit in the same room as Bubbles overnight before adding the water to the tank so as not to shock him. <Okay, assume the conditioner is for chlorine and letting it sit will help the temperature get stable.> I was told not to do a total tank cleanse, as Bettas need some of the natural bacteria from their water, so I haven't cleaned the tank completely in those 2 months we have had him. <Please read here. The bacteria you refer to are part of a critical process called the nitrogen cycle. This is of paramount importance to the health of your fish -
It has gotten chilly here in CT, so I turned on the heat in my son's room (even before the rest of my house!) in order to keep Bubbles warm enough.
Though I read the water should be almost 80 degrees...I don't think it's that warm here. What type of heater should I get? <In a 1 gallon, not many options. I would recommend moving this fish to a 5 gallon tank with filter and heater. Some aquatic plants would give you a similar look to the one you are going for now.>
We feed him one Tetra Betta floating mini-pellet everyday upon the advice of the store where we got Bubbles. <Ok>
I have removed him from his tank and put him in the small cup he came to us in, just in the hopes that I can stabilize his condition and get to the bottom of the problem if it has to do with his tank. <No, this will not help. It will only make things worse. Less water, more pollution, less stable. Pet stores that keep Betta in cups are doing the fish harm. Please do not replicate this in the home environment. Read here for information on viable Betta systems -
Picture attached, as you can see, his fins are no longer blue. They still look the same otherwise; they have not torn, etc. <This fish is suffering for environmental stress as a result of the conditions provided. Do read above and act accordingly.>
Many thanks for any advice, as you can tell, it's my first fish too! Cheryl
<Like I said at the start, you have already taken a step in the right direction by seeking opinions/reading online. Please do read the links above and provide the fish with more suitable conditions. Good luck!

Medicinal Question (Triple Sulfa)... Betta env. dis. 11/2/11
I am sorry to bother you on such a short notice, I can only imagine the amount of emails you get per day. I just have a quick question while I am treating my Crowntail Betta with Triple Sulfa for fin rot.
<Mmm, okay>
The instructions state to do a 25% water change on the 2nd and 4th days of treatment, but I have been fighting with iffy ammonia levels because it is a 2.5gal new tank
<Should not place livestock in an uncycled setting...>
and has yet to really be established (do not have a filter,
<... then this fish's life will be short, challenging. Read here:
and the linked files above>
do regular water changes every 2 days).
<Do you have a heater? Is this animal being kept at a steady tropical temperature?>
Do you know if it would void/screw up the treatment if I did a small (10-15%) water change today to get the ammonia levels down?
<It will not, but the likelihood of this fish improving in this setting is nil>
I just tested, and it is nearly to .5. Maybe a longer treatment time to compensate? I fear if I wait until tomorrow night, it could reach danger zone and potentially do more harm than can be repaired.
If you'd like to see him, I've attached a picture. =)
Thank you for all you do,
Rachel Soderberg
<No sense treating this fish as you're doing if not providing the proper environment. Bob Fenner>

Re: Medicinal Question (Triple Sulfa) 11/2/11
The environment is proper, it is heated and maintained and I've had success with filter-less bowls. I didn't place him in the ammonia environment, it was a new fish with a new setup bought at the same time and me needing to treat him and avoid water changes is what caused the ammonia to get over 0.
Before I started the treatments (which was recommended by a Wet Web Media member, who I had informed I was battling ammonia) I'd finally gotten it down to 0.
I don't mean to reply back with little point, but I don't like being accused of mal-care of my Bettas.
<No one does. Twas a guess/posed as a query>
On a happier note, thank you for your advice. I'm through the treatment at this point and have been steadily working the ammonia back down. All will be well.
<Ah good. BobF>

Re A question about the black Crowntail Betta, toxic rocks  10/22/11
Hello: <Hello again Judy>
I changed his water yesterday and put in some water conditioner for tap water and new stones I got at the art store. <What kind of stones? Do be careful when putting in such decor. Some of these objects can significantly alter water chemistry.> He has had a few of these stones in before. He is hiding this morning and at one point was on his side in a decoration not eating. <Yikes! If on his side for only a very short time it is not a huge concern but if sustained for any more than the shortest time frame, likely a symptom of something being wrong.> I removed the stones, and did a huge water change along with a tsp of marine salt and a tsp of Epsom salts and turned out the light. <Why? Is he showing any particular signs of illness?
I prefer not to use salts unless required and warranted. They are not the perfect answer and can do harm as well as good.> Maybe I put in too much tap conditioner. <Did you put it in the tank or in the container prior to changing the water? Same goes for the salt actually Either way, the conditioner is likely not the cause.> He was acting like this when I first got him and came out of it. <Understandable - adjusting to his new environment.> I also put a new heater in his tank. <set sufficiently high and to the same temperature as before?> Can Bettas have a little emotional breakdown with too many changes :) or is that humanizing them? <Not necessarily and emotional response in the human sense but can indeed take some time adjusting to significant changes in the physical environment.>
Thank you!!
<Judy, Based on the information you have provided, I really cannot tell whether the Betta is sick of just a little stressed from the changes.
Please run tests on the water and ensure that all parameters are in order.
I would look at pH and kH in particular. Please rectify appropriately if you find anomalies. For the future, try and go with natural and neutral materials as decor and read here about using salts -
There is always a risk of contaminating the water inadvertently when using materials that are not designed for aquarium use (and even with some materials that are!) I do hope all is well with this fish! Cheers - Sugam>
Toxic decor and heaters  10/22/11

<Hello Judy,>
I have been writing about my rare male black Crowntail. I got stones from the art store which I now realize were not a good thing for a fish tank. I did put a few in with no problems a while back. A couple of days ago I put the rest of the bag of stones in. The next morning the Betta was on his side and had a cloudy bluish tint to his eyes. I did two huge water changes and removed all the stones, and changed the filter media and added a tsp of epsons salt.
<New carbon is the thing for removing poisons. Remember, carbon lasts a couple of weeks then stops working (though it does hold filter bacteria quite well).>
The tank is five gallon at 80 degrees, soft water. This morning the Betta's eyes are no longer cloudy and he seems back to normal. Can a fish go blind from an experience like that??
<Yes, it could, but sounds like he dodged the bullet this time, so well done!>
Also he has a 25 Watt heater. Would it make more sense to get a 50W, so I can turn it down lower and extend the life of the heater?
<Not sure it really works that way.>
or is there a danger of the heater malfunctioning and frying the fish?
<Yes, there is a small danger. In my experience, heaters generally fail rather than get stuck "on", but either way, few budget brands last more than 5 years before something goes awry. I'm sure many heaters last much longer, but I seem to be replacing them every 5 years!>
I used to have a 100W heater in there set low and the temp stayed at 80F, but I moved that heater to another tank. Thank You!!
<You're welcome, Neale.>
Re... poisoned Betta, chatting 10/23/11

<... J>
I am the one with the rare black crowntail Betta. He had the possibly toxic stones in his tank that I removed and drained the tank twice. This morning he was on his side again and seems to be struggling to breath. I put 2 tsp of marine salt in the tank and turned the temp up to 85F from 80F. I also put a med in there, Jungle Parasite with Acriflavine.
We rushed to the LFS and that was all they had for velvet.
<... if Velvet this fish would be dead almost immediately. Please see on WWM Re>
He does seem to have a little goldish color on him near the head, plus he has lost a little color near the head. I also turned his light out. They said to remove the carbon before treatment so that meant removing the filter pad for now. How long do I leave the med in there before I change the water again?
<See the manufacturer's page>
The box says to use no more than 3 times in a 24 hour period and then do a 25% water change. I put the med in an hour ago and there is no change yet. I hope he lives. Thank you!!
<Thank you for searching, reading ahead of writing us. B>

Betta turning white, env. 10/11/11
Hello WWM Crew,
So I've had two Betta's in a split tank
<... heated and filtered? Nope; see this below. Trouble>
and have had them for almost 2 months now. They were happy and healthy for a long time. I change their tank about twice a week since it has no filter. They also do not have a heater, but I make sure their tank stays between 76 and 80 degrees.
<How? Small volumes of water vacillate too much, too quickly.>
Also, I use a conditioner to treat their water before putting them in it.
Around 2 weeks ago, my Halfmoon double tail, Moe started turning white and has progressively gotten worse. My other Betta, Fred, who is a Crowntail, started getting a little white on him as well. So thinking that is was a fungus, I put aquarium salt in their tank after cleaning everything in boiling water. Fred in now better and has resumed making his bubble tank.
Moe, however, is not better. He started getting color back on Friday, but now it is Monday and he is back where we were 2 weeks ago only this time with black spots on his head. Fred is still happy and healthy. Moe has also had a red streak through his bottom fin since he as gotten sick, but I thought that may have been part of the fungus. I attached a couple pictures
of Moe, and one of Fred to show he is healthy. They are sharing the same water so I can't figure out why one is being affected and the other isn't.
Thank you for taking the time to read my problems. Have a great day!
<The issues here are environmental in origin and cure. Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Can't Stop Fin Rot in Betta (RMF, could admixing of chemicals be at play here?)<<Yes>> 9/11.5/11
Hello, I am desperate!!
My Betta Kasan, has fin rot and it seems that it might be severe. I saved him from a Wal-Mart where I found him in water that was pure ammonia. I got him around a month ago. I set him up in a 5gal. tank, with pad & foam filters, water temperature at 78Ã'´F and I check the ammonia level about twice a week and always come out at 0.
<All sounds good.>
I noticed that he started to have some fin rot about a week after I got him; when I did his first water change (I do a 25% water change every week) I decided to put half a tablet of Jungle Clear (in the box it says that 1 tablet for 10gal) & 4 days later, with a 25% change I put in the second dose. I saw a very small improvement, so I decided not to medicate again. Give Kasan a rest.
<Sometimes a good idea, but often not. Many medications work best if used quickly a second time if the first course didn't work. It is a good idea to do a big water change, 50% say, between medication courses though.>
A few days later I noticed that the black fringe he had was gone & that the areas that were translucent started to fall. I did not worry thinking that it meant that his fin would heal. But it didn't, it started to recede; his fin is getting shorter. So I medicated him with Maracyn & Maracyn Two for five days, with the doses adjusted for his tank size.
<All sounds sensible.>
I did not remove the filter for it said in the instructions not to & I was told unless it was a carbon filter, it was not necessary. I finished his last dose 8 days ago & I don't know if I should give him a second round of Maracyn and/or Maracyn Two or Jungle Clear (that worked wonders with Willy, my previous Betta RIP). I tried to find Kanacyn but it is not in any of the local fish stores (I have only one to go but it far away). Like I mentioned before I do weekly water change (25%) to Kasan 5gal tank, the new water I prepare has 2 teaspoons of API Aquarium Salt (most people tell me to put 1-2 tablespoons or 3-6 teaspoons, but it makes me nervous that it might be to much salt for a Betta in a 5gal tank),
<Well, the amount of salt isn't the issue so much as the concentration: 1 teaspoon in 10 gallons is the same concentration as 100 teaspoons in 1000 gallons. But in any event, I wouldn't use salt in a Betta aquarium without good reason. There's much mythology on the topic of salt in freshwater tanks including Betta systems, but unfortunately, little or no science to back it up.>
also Tetra Aqua AquaSafe as water conditioner, API Algaefix, Top Fin Ammonia Remover (just in case the water conditioner didn't get all). I mix all of this ingredients in the water before I added to the tank.
<I think you'd overkilling here. Too much stuff. Forget the ammonia remover and the algae killer. The first is redundant if the water conditioner did it's job, which it will, and the second is not only pointless but potentially harmful. Algae killing stuff is a poison, as you'd expect, and dead algae will reduce water quality. On top of all this, the more chemicals you mix, the less predictable the results. A medication that's safe on it own could be dangerous mixed with a second medication. So stick to just the water conditioner for the tap water, and then add medicine for Finrot if required. Stop the salt, the ammonia remover, and the algae potion.>
I got with the tank a little bottle of Nutrafin Cycle Biological Aquarium Supplement, that I've been tempted to use, but I have read very negative things, most of all that it is useless, any thoughts??
<Again, would not use. If the aquarium is more than a couple weeks old, you already have the bacteria starting to do their thing. If ammonia and nitrite levels are zero, then the filter is doing it's job and doesn't need any more magic potions.>
I feed Kasan twice a day, 2 pellets of Aqueon Betta Food & on surprised occasions I give him a couple of freeze dried bloodworms by Tetra (Willy loved them!!)
<If the Finrot is still a problem, do first start by checking water quality, specifically, nitrite (with an "I", not nitrate with an "a"). If this is not zero, then filtration and water quality are the issues. Stop feeding, do a 20% water changes, and keep doing such water changes daily for at least a week after detecting nitrite. You can go without feeding your fish for a week without problems, and when you do feed, provide only the smallest meals, the size of the fish's eye being ample. If nitrite level is zero, then the Finrot medication should work well but I'd still be super-cautious about overfeeding.>
So is there anything I have to change?? Should I medicate him again?? Maracyn? Maracyn Two? Jungle Clear? All of them? If the answer is yes, Should I administer the same way I did before? Please help!!! Thank you for your time, Ana
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: Can't Stop Fin Rot in Betta (RMF, could admixing of chemicals be at play here?) <<Yes>> 9/22/11
Hi, thnx for the help!
<Glad to be of assistance.>
I've done what you have recommended. Stopped all of the quemicals except for the water conditioner.
Ammonia level still at 0. Everything is as I said before. I've been medicating Kasan with Maracyn & Maracyn II. I'm on the fourth dose of the second treatment. After the first treatment, he didn't seem to get better but he wasn't getting worse. That is why I continued with a second treatment. All seemed well, until today, when I noticed that the fin rot has started on his top fin also. It was ok before. What else can I do? I now I can't give him more Maracyn I or/& II. Should I retry with Jungle Fungus Clear & for how long?
<If it's Finrot, you need a Finrot medication. If it's Fungus, you need a Fungus medication. Don't confuse them! Maracyn products are mostly for Finrot, while Fungus Clear is for Fungus. Some medications treat both, notably things like Kanaplex, Paraguard and eSHa 2000. Do follow instructions carefully, and do remember to remove carbon while medicating (if you use carbon).>
Again thank you for your help��.
<Cheers, Neale.>

New tank fears. 9/5.5/11
I purchased a tank for a Betta and after getting to college found out a piece of the filter is missing. I am trying to get the piece I need from the company. I also realized I forgot to get a heater and have ordered one online. I hope to get both very soon. Thankfully the dorms are kept excessively warm and Ryu's (my Betta)water doesn't seem too chilled. Will he be okay until the parts come in?
<Let's hope so>
What warning signs should I watch for and what can I do to try to assist him until they do?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettadiseases.htm
and the linked files above when/where you find time, the inclination to be informed thus>
He seems very happy right now (beautiful fins, playing with the (unfortunately plastic) plant in the tank, and driving me crazy with his begging habits) and I am keeping my eye on the water to make sure it stays crystal clear for now.
*~* Rebeka *~*
<Thank you for writing, caring. Bob Fenner>

Betta has lump just below top fin, env., no reading 4/4/2011
My Betta, purchased a couple weeks ago, has a whitish lump (yes it protrudes from its body). I say whitish, because the surface of it looks white and the scales appear to stick out slightly, but it has some darker coloring below and around it. The pet store referred me to their fish specialist who told me it is a fungus and told me to use Pimafix.
Betta lives in a fish bowl, not a filtered tank,
and the guy told me to put a few drops in his water each day for 7 days. I change the water once a week, feed him 4 pellets a day. He is active, gobbles up his food, and makes a HUGE bubblenest. We have a Crown Tail Betta also living in similar conditions (slightly larger bowl), and he is doing great. I tried to take pictures, but as soon as he sees me he swims all over the bowl! Please help. He was supposed to be a gift at my daughter's birthday party, and was not chosen. He was supposed to go to our neighbor, who has been away. I don't want to give her a sick fish.
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
and the linked files above, particularly re environmental disease. What you have won't work. Bob Fenner>

Re: re: Betta has lump just below top fin 4/4/2011
Ok, so aside from feeling like I am being rudely spoken to here, I also feel as though I am being given no assistance. Worthless, doomed, and what I have won't work, but no offer of advice, no suggestions.
<... please read where you were referred to. WWM is NOT a bb, but an information source>
Not even an offer of what this lump is.
<... Env. stress...>
I emailed because I thought this website seemed helpful, but I feel as though I am being looked down upon for temporarily keeping a fish in a bowl.
<... Can't live here long or well.... as you'll find from USING our site. B>
Black something on beta head 1/26/11
I came home with a new Betta yesterday and this morning I noticed his head is covered in a fine-textured black fuzz or a matte black velvet. He seems healthy as he is eating hardily and flaring at Whirly his tank mate.
Divided 5 gallon tank.
<Not a good idea to leave males in constant view of each other>
I'm new to Bettas and I couldn't find any info that seemed to click with his symptoms.
<Likely chromatophore expression from a physical trauma... dashing itself into the viewing panel most likely>
I intend to thoroughly clean and do a 100% water change this afternoon. I normally do a 20% water change every week. I feed flakes 2 times a day, a tiny amount. The flakes have bloodworms in it.
<Not sufficiently nutritious. Read here:
And I have a very small aerator/filter.
<and heater? Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
Thank you!
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>
Re: Black something on beta head 1/26/11

The tank is stays in the 74+ range from just using the light
<... when it's off...>
and me being cold intolerant keeping the house in the 70s as well. Heater is on the list just not atm.
<... Ok, but nec.>
When I said bloodworms are in the flakes. I mean there are actual worms and there are flakes. I like the idea of being able to feed them peas. I wonder how they will take to it.
<Read where you were referred again, please>
I'll look for a divider that is not clear as another tank is not an option, As hubby will probably put me out if I accumulate any more pets (2 cats, 3 Betta fish and an African dwarf frog).
<A nice menagerie!>
Thank you!
<Welcome! BobF>
Re: Black something on beta head 1/26/11
I read the articles.
<Ah good>
I examined Zi Se (new baby boy) closely and with a flashlight. It does seem to be what you had suggested. Much to my relief!
<Ahh, should heal of its own accord>
Thanks for your help!
<Welcome! BobF>

Betta sorority tank in peril 12/31/10
Hi guys,
first I want to say thank you for this wonderful website, it has helped us to a good start with our fish adventures.
<Ah, good>
We first started with a 10 gallon tank with 2 Danios, that was so successful we are regularly having fry coming out of our ears. Then I saved a beautiful Betta from a local pet chain, and that led to a sorority tank. But now I have a big issue with it. That 10 gallon tank has been established October 18th this year, has 6 female half moon Bettas, and I have been keeping relatively thorough log of what has been done to it. It is serviced with an AquaClear 30 filter, on the slowest setting, I keep the temperature around 80 degrees F, and some aquarium salt at the ratio of less then 1 teaspoon per gallon. I usually do weekly changes of about 40%.
First I planted it with a lot of Java ferns, some crypts, some hair grass and a whole bunch of Rotala rotundifolia, all growing well under our lighting fixture. There are 2 big pieces of African driftwood and some big rocks that were confirmed to be safe for the tank by our local fish gurus.
<From your pic, this looks like a very nice system indeed>
Now here is the issue, I recently moved the tank from the original spot that it was set up in: a bay window, onto a shelf that is more sheltered from the day light. One of the reasons was that the tank was developing a huge infestation of algae: green, hair algae and that blue green bacterial layer. I kept on scrubbing it, but it came back even in the shade. So I got two Otos to help out. I got them from a reputable source, and they seem to be doing well in the tank. Don't look famished, and the plants have somewhat improved. The green slimy layer is not coming back, I know they are not eating it, just the green algae. But their presence seems to help somehow. The hair algae are coming back though.
Now, the chemistry of the tank is this pH 7.4 (a bit high, but so is our water),
<Is fine>
ammonia and the nitrates are at 0, the nitrites
<You've got these switched>
since the cycling have dropped down to 10, but recently spiked up to 40.
<... too high by far>
I know I am overfeeding, but that is mostly because I was trying to condition the ladies for breeding. I feed a variety of foods: dried and rehydrated blood worms (Hikari), Tubifex worms (Hikari), frozen Mysis and brine shrimp, some custom flake foods that have been very well accepted. The ladies are not crazy about the pellets, so I stopped using them.
Now, the issue we left for 5 days during the Christmas time, and when we came back this is what I find: one fish has cloudy eyes and a bit of fuzz around the mouth, one has a white spot on her head, I am guessing this is some kind of fungus. But the third is in the worst shape, and the problem is she is completely white and hard to say if she has the same thing as well. But her symptoms are: raised scales on top of her head, clamped fins, refuses to feed and hides.
They have not been fed during our absence, I figured that was safest.
The nitrites did spike from 10 to 40 when I tested the water.
What I did so far: I did 90% water change, with 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon of water, and I added 2 mil of the Artemiss Herbatana (I know it is not a medication, but seems to perk up their appetites usually, and I am not prone to use "hammer to kill a bug").
<Me neither... we have the "sailboat" vs. motor cruiser philosophy/practice>
Saying that I knew I needed to do something fast, so the blue female with cloudy eyes and fuzz on the mouth got a 15 min bath in salt (1 tbs) and Seachem ParaGuard (3 mil per gal) solution.
<Mmm, a good product, but this isn't a parasitic situation... It IS environmental. You must address, fix this>
She seemed too distressed so I took her out early (directions say 1 hour, but I watched her closely and did not like her reaction), she is much perkier today, and the clouds on her eyes seem to have shrunken a bit (purely subjective observation). The one with a spot on her head seems in fine mood, but the white one is really looking sad.
I am attaching pictures of all three of them and the tank. Hope you can help.
Thanks in advance!
<T'were it me, mine, I'd "turn up" the outside power filter, but back on feeding, monitor NO3, not allow it to get over 20 ppm maximum (as an indicator of water pollution), not use any medications. Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta sorority tank in peril 12/31/10
Thanks so much for a speedy reply! I really appreciate it. :)
I agree that the issue is environmental, but I am really worried about the white Betta. She is really looking sad, and the bump/raised scales on her head are worrying to me. I am assuming it is some kind of infection or fungus?
<The root cause... it's world. Again, a real cure can only be gained by fixing this, and time going by>
The two blue ones are showing clear signs of fungus, no? Mouth fuzz, cloudy eyes, spots?
What do you think?
<Consider, look to... root causes... not efficacious to treat symptoms... In one's fish tanks or life>
The white one has always been the most vital and the star of the brood, not indiscriminately aggressive, but still boss of the tank. To see her with her fins tightly clamped and hiding is very distressing.
As for environment, I have really cleaned
<... what do you mean by "clean"? Cleanliness is not sterility... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
the tank as much as reasonably possible without disturbing the beneficial bacteria,
<Ah good>
the chemistry is ok now and they all look better. I'll turn up the filter as per your suggestion. Any other ideas?
<Numerous deep breaths, time going by... calm yourself>
Thanks again!
<Again welcome. BobF>
Re: Betta sorority tank in peril
:))) Thanks, I guess the only medication I need is a big glass of red wine. :)
<A wise choice... rather then risking a bad bottle (vs. mediocre) on Two Buck Chuck Merlot, might I suggest a fine Claret?>
Thank you, and happy new year!
<And you. B>

sick Betta, no idea what's wrong with it - 10/21/10
My Betta was looking fine and active before I changed the water. And after I did a full tank change yesterday(I don't have a filter, but has a heater and air pump), he's starting to act weird. He would hide under rocks and taking huge mouthfuls, look like he can't breath. I thought it might be toxic, so I did another 20% water change, and situation stays the same.
As far as water conditioner goes, I use Aqueon Betta Bowl Plus, he lives in a 1 gallon tank, so I follow the instruction by adding 5ml of water conditioners.
Some other facts, I don't know if it relates. You use to have a very sick crown tail Betta and he's fine until my mom did changed the water, he Died the next day. (using Aqueon, before I use Betta bowl essential some other brand I don't remember)
So I brought a New Betta, and also using this water conditioner, that Betta has the same behavior as my Betta now.
The first time I use this conditioner my Betta seems fine...I have no idea what's going on.
<Greetings. You haven't actually provided us with any useful information. But it's almost certain though that poor environment is the problem, at some level. Despite what some people will tell you, you need at least 5 gallons to keep a Betta, and you also need a filter as well as a heater. The filter should be a biological filter and correctly maintained just as in any other aquarium, such that ammonia and nitrite levels are zero. Yes, I know some breeders keep Bettas in bowls without filters, but these are experts doing daily, sometimes twice daily, water changes. Because they're putting in a lot of work to make sure water temperature and chemistry remain constant, and also because they have heated fish rooms to keep air temperature warm as well, keeping them this way is viable, if not particularly exciting for the Betta. For a causal aquarist like you, you must have a filtered, heated aquarium. 20-25% weekly water changes will do if the Betta is kept this way. So ditch the 1 gallon tank, install a proper filter, and set the heater to 25-28 C/77-82 F. Otherwise adding all the potions you want will be pointless. Unless you've diagnosed a particular problem, you shouldn't need to add anything other water conditioner to the aquarium. It's a shame that pet shops sell Bettas so cheaply, because the assumption is often that they're cheap pets to keep. They aren't pot plants and they can't live in jars! Bettas can live for as much as 4 years, but the average specimen sold in a generic pet shop is lucky to survive three months after sale. So while you perhaps don't know what the exact problem is, but do recognise that there is a problem, I'm almost certain that in some way your lack of care is what's killing your Bettas. In short, read here:
Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

My Betta's skin  7/7/10
Hi my name is Collin and I have had my Crowntail Betta, Shadow, for about a year and a half. Lately, his skin has started to acquire black spots. More and more come every month. He lives in a 1.5 gallon tank, alone, with an
air pump filter, and a heater during the winter because I live in a warm environment and his water usually stays between 79 and 81 degrees. I change his water about every 2 weeks to a month. I have looked on your site, but
did not see anything like this. Please give me some advice.(If you cannot access the picture email me back please) Thanks, Collin
<Hello Collin. Nope, couldn't see the picture at all. Do please send a JPEG or a GIF, at an image size of no more than 500 KB. What you sent was called "VIDEO_TS.BUP" and while that's obviously some type of movie, it's not much use to me at all. In any case, black spots on fish can often be down to ammonia burns, so that's what I'd be looking at. Ammonia accumulates in tanks without filters, or where the filters are improperly maintained. The
fact your aquarium is far too small is making things worse. Bettas need at least 5 gallons -- they're fish, not cut flowers -- and maintenance in jars like the one you have simply isn't humane. Upgrade the tank, and install a
heater if necessary -- "usually" at 80 degrees F doesn't mean much if it gets much colder at night when you aren't looking at the thermometer. Make sure the filter works properly and is properly configured. You don't need
carbon in the filter, but you do need healthy biological media. That media should be gently rinsed in a bucket of aquarium water every couple of weeks, but certainly not rinsed under a tap or replaced with completely new
material. The bottom line is that when people [a] don't keep their Bettas in 5+ gallon tanks; [b] don't install a heater to keep them constantly warm; and [c] don't properly filter the water, their Bettas get sick. Any further discussion about a sick Betta is largely pointless without first making sure you're providing the right environment. That you've kept this chap alive for 1.5 years is good, and it suggests that you're basically getting everything right. But as fish get older their immune system weakens, and slight problems can end up causing more serious healthcare issues, as may be the case here. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta problems... iatrogenic, env. 5/24/10
I`ve got 6 Bettas in 6 different bowls, each in about a gallon of water. 4 males and 2 females. One of them, Mr. Kite, pink/red Cambodian coloring, and is in the biggest bowl (1 3/4 gallons) has "Swimbladder" problems (I know
its just a term for a set of symptoms, but at least you know what I`m talking about).
I`ve tried treating it in several different ways, but none are working.
<... Bettas need heated, filtered systems... W/o providing for clean, warm water there is great likelihood of having such troubles>
I`ve tried not feeding him for a few days in the case of over feeding (I only feed about 2 pellets a day, 1 in the morning and 1 at night), I`ve cleaned the bowl, I`ve put in better hideouts (for possible stress), but nothing`s worked. I`m gonna try getting bloodworms to vary his diet also. All of my other Bettas are treated exactly the same as him, same food, changes at the same time, only difference is that he`s in the biggest bowl, which I`d think would reduce chances of problems. He was fine for the first year I`ve had him (he`s about a year and a few months). My first Betta is still living at 3 years old, so what I`m doing seems to be successful, I even (accidentally) bought a finrotted fish and treated it. I keep the house temp. around 75 degrees.
<Mmm, too low... water temp. is even lower... Read here:
and the linked files above>
I`m getting a fancy guppy tank together (4-6 guppies in 10 gallons w/ heating and filtration) would it help him if I
moved him into there (I`m guessing not, all being male and long finned and the Betta being medium aggressive)?
<Might, but will go after the guppies... chew on long tail fins of males>
If necessary a divider could be used. Is he just a fluke fish who`s prone to problems?
<Could be more susceptible>
He jumped out of the net once, only a short fall, but could that have had an effect (it started around then)? I know ya`ll don`t care much for bowls, but my fish are healthy (except for Mr. Kite) and seemingly happy (especially my pearl female).
Regardless of whether it helps or not, I will be getting bloodworms to vary all their diets and eventually getting bigger heated aquariums once I can afford it, to make it even more comfortable for them.
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta problems... 5/24/10
Ok, I`ll be able to get him in a heated tank within about a month or 2,
<Do look into "multiple Betta systems"... you're a candidate... That have heat, filtration...>
in the meantime I`ll try diet change.
Thanks for your help!
<Welcome. BobF>

Jittery Betta fish 4/26/10
Dear Crew at WetWebMedia,
After reading extensively through the information on your (very useful) site, I concluded that the 5 litre (1.3 gallon) unheated vase was inadequate for Tybalt,
and got him an 18 litre (approx 5 gallon) tank with a heater. I also got him an Anubias plant (approx 14cm/5.5 inches tall). I do not however, have a filter.
<Ah, this will cause problems in the long term. While you don't need anything fancy, an air-powered sponge filter will dramatically improve the longevity of this fish.
The tank sits on my desk (where I spend a lot of time, because I am a student), and is well lit by the overhead desk lamp during the day.
<They really don't like overhead light. If you can, filter the light with floating plants, such as Indian Fern.
Likewise fish hate upwelling light, so if you got suckered into non-dark substrate, e.g., white sand or some other garish colour, that's going to freak your fish out too. Black sand is good, and plain vanilla gravel even better.>
Unfortunately, ever since I moved him the bigger tank Tybalt seems very anxious and skittish. When I raise my hand or touch the glass on the outside of the tank he dashes away from me and hides in the corner! His little fins whirring in agitation! He never used to run away from me when he was in the bowl. In fact he would usually come closer when I approached him (probably because he thought he was about to be fed). My question is, what can I do to make Tybalt feel safer and happier? Does he need a dark background?
<Fish generally do not like tanks where light can shine right through. It's corny I know, but having the tank against a wall, so that one side is dark, dramatically improves things.>
Or more hiding places? If so, do Bettas prefer plants, little caves, or tubes?
<Anything that floats. Plants are great, but you can get floating plastic knickknacks of various types that can work.>
Alternatively, is he lonely? Would he be happier if I bought another (gentle, non fin nipping) fish to share the tank with him?
Many thanks for your help,
<No problem.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Jittery Betta fish, env. dis.... 4/28/10
Dear Neale,
Alas! Disaster has struck! Tybalt has turned into a vegetable! He hasn't moved or eaten for the last 36 hours! He is floating motionless at the surface of the water. His fins are tightly clamped. He is completely unresponsive to food and movement. However, I know he is still alive because his gills are moving.
<First of all, check water chemistry, quality, and temperature. For Bettas, you want good water quality (0 ammonia and nitrite), water chemistry that isn't extreme or variable (around pH 7, 5-15 degrees dH is ideal), and a temperature around 28-30 C/82-86 F.>
I am sorry to bother you again, but I don't think that there is information on WetWebMedia that deals with this particular problem. What I've read suggests that this sort of catatonic behaviour in Bettas is usually due either to poor water quality, or low water temperature.
I'm pretty sure that neither of these things can be causing Tybalt's vegetative state. He's in 18 litre tank all by himself and has only been there since Saturday (4 days), so the water must be clean.
<Eh? No, no, no. "Clean" water is water that is filtered through a mature biological filter. A new tank filled with dechlorinated tap water may *look* clean but it's anything but clean. All tanks go through a cycling process that lasts around 4-6 weeks, during which time the filter matures.
In the case of a Betta aquarium, the best filters are air-powered sponge filters or air-powered box filters filled with ceramic noodles. These need to be matured before the Betta is introduced by some sort of "fishless cycling" method, typically the addition of ammonia or pinches of fish food across several weeks. If you haven't done this, then your tank isn't mature, and the water quality inside the tank will be poor. Let's be crystal clear here: most fish die because of water quality issues, and most water quality issues come down to not cycling the tank properly before the fish were introduced. If you haven't cycled the tank before buying the fish, then you have to do a "cycling with fish" method. In a nutshell, you feed the fish very slightly ever other day, and only if it wants food. On a
daily basis you change 25% of the water, and about 50% every seventh day.
This will get you through the lethal first 3-4 weeks, after which point your nitrite test kit should reveal nitrite levels are quickly dropping down towards zero.>
And he has a heater set to 26 degrees (Celsius).
<Below optimum, but not the issue here. Do note that the number on the heater bears little relation to how hot the water actually is, so use a thermometer.>
Can you think of any other reasons he might be behaving this way? I am desperate to save him if I can. Should I do a complete water change to make certain that there isn't something in the water killing him? Or could that be dangerously stressful to him in his current state??
<See above.>
He is upright so I don't think he has swim bladder disease. He had a bit of fungus when I first bought him (about two weeks ago) but I treated this with Wardley's Prometheyasul and it seems better. I haven't fed him anything live, which I think makes it unlikely that he has a parasite.
Pursuant to your last email, I got him some floating plants (java fern) to filter his light, so he shouldn't be freaked out by that anymore. Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
<Check the biological filter, and use either a nitrite or ammonia test kit to make sure it is working.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Betta Health Issue ++ 04/22/10
Dear Wet Web Crew,
I have had my Betta, Kail, off and on for almost 3 years (he spent a year with my ex-boyfriend who changed his pebbles to gravel, and when I got him back I was appalled at the filth in the tank). He lives a lonely existence in a nice little one gallon tank
<Too small.>
with an air filter and clear pebbles.
<Needs a heater.>
I feed him once a day with Atlantis Betta Food and clean out his tank whenever if looks like it needs to be cleaned, which is about once a week.
He has always been a lazy fish hanging out in the bottom of the tank. He has always been picky about his food, not really eating much if eating at all.
<If there's no heater, then likely his metabolism isn't high enough.>
When I finally found a food he liked he would rush to the top and snap it up the moment it hit the water. However, lately he just lays at the bottom of the tank and doesn't move for the food.
<Likely poor environmental conditions.>
Today, I noticed that he has a lump on his side and though I have Googled for the possible cause of this lump I have yet to find the answer.
<Could easily be a tumour, possibly from reduced immune response thanks to inadequate water temperature.>
Please take a look at the attached photos and see if you can help Kail.
<Nothing attached.>
<Gina, most sick Bettas are sick because people keep them badly. Tanks that are too small and unheated are common reasons. Do read:
Do also check water quality and water chemistry. You're aiming for 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, pH around 7, hardness 5-20 degrees dH, and a steady temperature of 25-30 degrees C/77-86 degrees F. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta fish looks bloated and is sitting at the bottom of the tank 4/16/10
Hi there -
For about the last week our Betta has been sitting at the bottom of the tank a lot more than usual.
<How big is this tank? Bettas really do need 5 gallons or so, and in smaller tanks problems of various kinds are much more common. Do read here:
This covers all the basic things Bettas need.>
I took a sample of his water in and got it tested:
Nitrates 0
Nitrites 0
Hardness 120
Alkaline 80
Ph 6.4
<All fine and within the parameters preferred by Betta splendens.>
He is in a tank heated to 82 degrees, a filter, weekly water changes and we feed him live bloodworms and the occasional frozen bloodworm.
<Now, bloodworms are a good food for fish in many ways, but they really shouldn't be the sole food item. Used to excess, there are reports of them causing digestive problems, and some retailers I know simply don't use bloodworms at all when maintaining delicate species such as Discus. So, while I'd certainly use wet-frozen bloodworms once or twice a week with any fish, the diet should be more varied, and the inclusion of a good quality
dried food a couple of times a week is a good way to make sure a fish gets all the vitamins it needs. Bettas are prone to constipation, and the use of live daphnia/brine shrimp, or cooked/tinned peas, provides essential fibre.>
Yesterday he had a very bloated appearance around his belly/gills area. He sits exclusively on the bottom of the tank now, save the occasional trip up to the top for what appears to be air. This morning he appears to be even
more bloated. He even tends to lay on his side and moves his mouth open and shut a lot. He hasn't been fed the last two days (we feed him every other day and with the bloating we skipped a feeding).
<I do suspect constipation is the issue here. Bettas fed just pellets often show similar symptoms, and pellets do often lack fibre. Stop feeding for a couple of days, and thereafter offer just peas, brine shrimp or daphnia.
Epsom salt at 1 to 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons can help relax the muscles, helping the high-fibre foods get their job done!>
He had a thorough cleaning and 75% water change on Saturday (Sunday was when we had the water tested.) I have no idea at all what to do. It seems like he ate something, but other than his plants and gravel, there's nothing else in his tank. Please help.
<Do read here:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fish looks bloated and is sitting at the bottom of the tank 4/16/10
Thanks so much for this information.
<My pleasure.>
So, no food until the constipation stops?
<As stated in my message, no food for a couple of days, and then ONLY the high fibre foods mentioned thereafter, for as long as it takes for the Betta to recover.>
This could go for a week or more?
And then Epson salts only when we start on the peas and other fiber-rich foods?
<No, use the Epsom salts immediately and continually until the Betta is better.>
I hate not doing anything at all for him. He seems to be really struggling.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fish looks bloated and is sitting at the bottom of the tank 4/16/10

Ok, I am clear. You are really providing an amazing service. Again, many thanks!
<Glad to help. We're all volunteers, so whether it's a "service" as such is debatable, but we do try to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta fish looks bloated and is sitting at the bottom of the tank, FW NH3 testing 4/16/10
FYI, this may not apply to this case but I don't see ammonia listed.
<A fair point. But let me explain why I don't recommend ammonia test kits to beginners. You can easily get false positives if the water contains chloramine, especially after certain dechlorinator brands are used.
Secondly, some tap water contains ammonia anyway, and beginners often confuse removing ammonia from tap water, e.g., with water conditioner, and removing the ammonia produced by livestock, i.e., what the biological
filter does. Since nitrite isn't normally present in tap water, and shouldn't be produced by water conditioners, it's a "safe" thing to test for. There's normally zero nitrite in tap water, non-zero nitrite in an immature tank, and then zero nitrite again once the tank is cycled. So while you're absolutely correct that testing for ammonia will tell you how
far into cycling the aquarium has gone, to be meaningful you'd need to compare the ammonia level of the aquarium against the ammonia level of conditioned tap water.>
I'd want to know how long the tank has been in place. This is from personal experience with local retail fish stores. They told me my water parameters were good so I could add more fish and nitrate and nitrite were also 0.
Ammonia was good too but only because of the water change.
In reality the reason it was 0 nitrite and nitrate was because the tank wasn't cycled.
To the retail store that sold my fish tank a week earlier they said it was OK because the numbers where "good" when they weren't. That's before I knew to test before the water change.
<Quite right.>
It took weeks and weeks to see nitrite due to the overstocking.
<That's relatively unusual, and typically you should detect nitrite within a week of cycling. I'm not a huge fan of cycling with ammonia and tend to favour the use of fish food or a bit of shrimp, but either way, the whole cycling process should take within 3-6 weeks depending on oxygen concentration [higher the better], pH [best around 7.5-8], hardness [best in hard water], and temperature [best around 25 C]. Anyway, thanks for writing in, always a pleasure to hear from you Greg. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta, carpet surfing, not eating 4/13/10
Dear Crew,
Two days ago, I got a Betta for my new(cycled) aquarium. He is the best!
Though I sadly didn't have the best start with him. when I finished acclimating him, I was pouring the water into a container getting ready to catch him with a net. He Jumped right to the floor( luckily it was carpet).
I grabbed him as quick as I could and put him into the aquarium! Ohhhh gosh was it horrible!
Now , after about 30 min., he seems fine. But he was sitting at the bottom breathing hard and if anyone just barely moved he swam fast and crazy.
Yesterday, I tried feeding him bloodworms...spat them back up.
Today I tried feeding him pellets... spat them back up.
What should I do?? He evidently won't eat any food!
Thank you I would really like to see him eat!
<I urge patience... just keep offering foods everyday, make sure the system is indeed cycled, and the water tropical... Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta... reading 4/14/10

I came home today to find his fins were all torn (not fin rot torn) and it is not from the plants I made sure the were "Betta safe" per say. Could it be from the erratic swimming when he hits the gravel? I also saw he had scratches! Is there any way to heal those?? Goodness... I think he could be on a suicide mission!!! But I feel like it was all my fault!!
Oh well...
Thank you for the replies,
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlvstkind2.htm
the second tray down. BobF>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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