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FAQs on Betta Diseases: Environmental 4 (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 2, Environmental 3, 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 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

Betta with open wound; env.     8/4/16
My Betta has been doing poorly for some time now. I believe I have fixed everything I was doing wrong (temp too low, over feeding, not enough water changes) and while he's doing a bit better, I don't think it's enough. He has an open wound in his left side. There was some white stuff growing on it and I treated him with tetracycline (which I later found out is bad for Bettas) but the white stuff is gone. He also has Popeye on his left side and what I think maybe velvet.
<I see all else but doubt the Velvet... this algae/protozoan disease is usually virulent, fatal>
I feel like I've been a terrible owner but all I can (and want) to do now is give him the best treatment and help him make a full recovery. His 5 gallon tank is at 83 degrees now and I've been putting in half a capful of stress guard everyday for a week now. I thought he was doing better for a bit because he was changing positions more often (he's been at the bottom of his tank for the last 2 weeks) and hasn't eaten anything since I returned from a trip on July 20. I did see him eat some waste that was floated up from the bottom when I was doing a water change last week, but he doesn't seem interested in any food I put in there.
<Mmm; this fish appears to have "Finrot"; as you state, likely due to "poor conditions". Often just correcting these will effect a cure/reversal, but I would utilize an antibiotic in this case. My choice; Kanamycin>
He's just been lying on his side barely moving and I don't see improvement on his open wound. It doesn't seem to be healing or getting any smaller.
Please tell me what I can do to help him recover!
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BettaInfectDisF2.htm Much to relate, warn re... >
Also, I have another trip coming up this weekend...someone can be here to treat him, but they are not interested in anything too involved. What other measures can I take to ensure he is still alive when I return?
<The reading... antibiotic use... time going by>

Thank you for your time!
-Anna Hummer
The second picture is older, from when he still had the white stuff on his wound.
<Bob Fenner>

Re: Betta with open wound     8/5/16
Thank you for the prompt response! I bought Kanamycin yesterday. I read the link you attached and came across the section about cycling the tank. It seems that it is NOT recommended or necessary for the fish to be in a tank that is cycling.
<Imperative that it, fishes NOT be present>

I did not know this.
I did a couple 30% water changes last week and believe my tank is cycling AGAIN, after it had just finished cycling a couple weeks ago, according to the guy at the fish store who tested my water. Is it possible that I took out too much water and good bacteria when I did those water changes?
<Yes; probable>
I've also rinsed the filter a few times over the last couple weeks, to get out the tetracycline and try and improve the tank conditions. Seems like this was the wrong call. In the link you sent me, a lot of people talked about a hospital tank.
<Ah yes>
What exactly is this and would you recommend it for my situation?
<See the Search Tool on every WWM page?>
It sounds a bit more complicated and I only have a small bowl that he lived in previously.
<Survived... not thrived>
And how often would you recommend water changes?
<This also is gone over and over... weekly, percentage, pre-mixed water....>
Both for now as he heals and later as regular maintenance. I have been advised from 25% to 50% on a weekly basis and don't know which is best.
Any tips for tank cleaning to get the most gunk out of there?
<.... Keep reading>
I agitate the rocks as best I can but when I am pouring the new water in, I see even more rise up from the bottom. Definitely dealing with the effects of my previous overfeeding, but I don't think a complete tank clean out would be advisable at this point. Please let me know if I am wrong, though.
Also, after I begin the antibiotic treatment, should I continue to treat him with Stress Guard as well?
<Yes. BobF>

Think something is wrong with my beta
I rescued Harry the Hardy Beta more than a month ago from a centerpiece at my niece’s wedding shower. (He would have probably been flushed after the shower.)
<Seriously! That's horrible! What kind of person would buy living animals as table decorations then just throw them away like that???>
Despite his rocky start - and my false starts on caring for him - he has been amazingly healthy.
<Good, and bless you for helping this guy out.>
Just over two weeks ago I finished cycling a 5.5 gallon aquarium for him - heater, foam bio-filter, thermometer, live and silk plants, and a few bits of natural wood (for aquariums) to try to combat our hard water.
<All sounds fab. Don't worry about the hard water. Not really an issue with Bettas.>
Harry was very happy and active after moving in. I was checking chemicals regularly, but had not changed the water in just over 2 weeks. Harry has always had a very hearty appetite and I have to limit him to 2 or 3 pellets twice a day - he’d eat 10 if I let him.
<No doubt! Would mix up the diet a little to avoid constipation. Stuff from the kitchen can work. Tiny slivers of fish or seafood, cooked peas, even hard boiled egg yolk. The more variety, the better.>
He ate normally yesterday morning. Then, last night he rushed to the surface for his food - and couldn’t seem to eat. He became frustrated and bumped and bumped at it, but never ate. I removed it and tried a couple of hours later - same result except he was more frustrated. Then again this morning - same. My husband went to the local pet store later in the morning and got some much smaller beta pellets and Harry ate them. BUT there are a couple of other changes I noticed. Last night I noticed a bump under his jaw, between his gills and mouth. It’s not discolored and he’s not trying to rub at it, but I hadn’t noticed it before despite checking him very closely.
<Sometimes happens with Bettas that their mouths get damaged. Not something to worry about if the fish can feed, and superficial damage usually repairs itself in time.>
Also, his behavior in the tank was different today. He was not as active. He hid under plants more. He rested on the filter. Then he would frantically rush to the surface and skim along the top like he was scooping air off the top, instead of his usual, leisurely surface breathing. I checked and the pH was very high (off the chart on my test kit which goes to 7.4).
<There you go! Environmental stress.>

So I did a 50% water change with treated water to bring it down and deal with any trace ammonia and nitrite/nitrate which might be causing him issues (even though the tests showed it was fine). Harry was very upset and active during the water change - more than usual. Then, he just hung in a back corner of the aquarium, very still.
<Normal behaviour after big water changes. The pH presumably dropped, and that'll stress him. Not fatally, but enough to put him off his food.>
He seems to be acting more normally now.
<And likely will be more normal by the time you read this.>
Should I be worrying about the bump on his jaw?
<I would not; nor would I add random 'medications' (like Bettafix/Melafix). Only if I suspected Finrot or Columnaris would I medicate, and even then, I'd use bona-fide medications with good track records, such as Maracyn and Kanaplex. Not a huge fan of these tea-tree oil medications, which aren't terribly reliable.>
Did I cause a problem by delaying the water change too long (the water I removed was very discolored)?
<Possibly. With small tanks, frequent water changes make all the difference. I'd be changing the top 10-20% every day or two for the time being, even if water quality/chemistry seem fine, and once the Betta is back to normal, I'd be religious about doing my 25% change every weekend.>
Is our hard water causing the problem?
<Possibly. Bettas shouldn't have any trouble up to pH 8, hardness 20 degrees dH. Above that though, and yes, it's not ideal. For a small tank like yours, a zero-cost approach might be using rainwater if you can, and then mixed 50/50 with the tap water. That's what I do. There are limits to collecting rainwater, i.e., must be from roofs and gutters that aren't chemically treated (in my case, uPVC gutters and slate roofing, both safe) but I know not everyone has roofing like that or rain as regular as it is in the UK! A bit more expensive is buying demineralised water from hardware, grocery or aquarium stores. Again, a 50/50 mix with tap water will produce something mildly alkaline and with a medium hardness, which is totally fine for Bettas.>
(We’ve had to deal with that since I got him and only once did it go high and seem to bother him - that time he was constantly surface breathing.) Harry’s my first beta and I want to treat him right.
<Do let me direct you to Bob Fenner's excellent little eBook on Betta keeping, here:
For $6, a bit of a steal!
Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Betta with swollen belly      6/20/16
I have an older Betta, at least 3 years old now, that has a swollen belly.
From all that I've read I assume he is constipated with a possible swim bladder issue?
<Mmm; most all such complaints are a matter of environmental and/or nutritional issues>

He is in a 3 gallon tank with a filter and heater. I keep the temp around 79. The water quality was not the best for a few months

when my Mom had to take care of him and his fins got a little beat up, but that was a couple months ago, water is great now. I didn't know Bettas were notorious for over eating, which I'm now guilty of the last couple months.

I normally feed Hikari Betta pellets, which I've now stopped. I added a teaspoon of Epsom salt to his 3 gallon tank and will be offering peas over the next week. I have a new Betta that will be arriving next week and planned to set up my 6 gallon divided tank to put both of them in. )I had this custom made for the 2) My question is, is it safe to put the old one
and new one in the same tank?
<No; see WWM, my book on Bettas re... Not okay for them to be in constant vision of each other>
I assume from all that I've read that swim bladder problems are not contagious since it's an organ problem?
<.... this condition is NOT a disease per se; but a symptom. Again due to poor env./nutr.>

I obviously don't want to risk getting the new baby sick. Also, will the Epsom salt in the water be ok for the new one, should you say it's ok to house them together? I'm including a picture of my sick Betta. I've noticed a slight swelling starting a couple months ago, but they swelling grew pretty fast over the past few days which leads me to believe it's most likely constipation combined with my overfeeding. I won't be making that mistake again. In a couple of your articles you mentioned feeding some brine shrimp, but there aren't any fish stores within about 15-20 miles of my home, so I'm hoping peas for now is fine?
Thank you for your help,
<Read on! Bob Fenner>

Betta tank... Leaping....      6/11/16
Hi! My name is MaKayla and I have the Top Fin Aqua scene 2 gallon desktop aquarium starter kit and i bought it 2 days ago, set it up, and let it settle for a day before I went and got my Betta fish the next day (today)...long story short the tank is overproducing very small bubbles that are sitting at the top of the tank...I already tried filling the tank a bit more and it lessened the bubbles but not by a fraction. Because of this my fish doesn't wanna swim up to the top of the tank to breathe. Any advice??
<Yes! Kayla... this system wasn't, isn't ready for a Betta.... Please read here re:
I'd return this fish to the store for now... ask them to hold onto it for you... otherwise it may die under present
circumstances. READ dear; and quick. Bob Fenner>
Re: Betta tank     6/11/16

But what is the problem with it?
<....? Read... the system isn't cycled. You're killing this fish. B>
Re: Betta tank     6/11/16

You sent me to a general link so I was confused ... but okay thanks
<Ahh; continue with the linked files at top. B>
Re: Betta tank /Thank you ever-patient Neale      6/11/16

You sent me to a general link so I was confused ... but okay thanks
<<The point Bob is making is that a new aquarium takes 6 weeks to mature *before* you add any fish. The easiest way to do this is by adding pinches of fish flake every few days, and as these rot they release ammonia that feeds the bacteria that will be colonising the biological filter. While it is possible to cycle an aquarium using actual fish (this was the standard
approach right through until the 1990s) that does assume the tank is big enough that the ammonia that accumulates won't reach a high enough concentration to kill the hardy livestock (such as danios) chosen for this process. Half a dozen danios in a 40-gallon tank aren't going to be seriously stressed if you're doing substantial water changes every day or
two. But a Betta in a two-gallon tank? Nope. The ammonia level will rise so quickly that the poor fish will be stressed, if not outright killed. Use an ammonia kit to measure the ammonia level, and anything above zero is toxic enough to make them prone to diseases such as Finrot, and anything above 0.5 mg/l can kill fish very quickly, with a day even. Personally, I'd say any aquarium smaller than 4 gallons is a waste of your money, if you are going to use a 2-gallon tank, at the very least cycle it properly first, and then once you've seen the ammonia and nitrite levels rise up and then drop down to zero, which takes about 6 weeks, only then are you good to go.
At the very least buy a nitrite test kit as this is probably the most intuitive test kit: so long as nitrite is zero, your tank is working fine (ammonia test kits can be misleading because it's possible to detect neutralised ammonia in tap water after using the dechlorinator, which makes identifying "harmful" ammonia from the fish difficult to distinguish from the "safe" ammonia in the tap water). Sadly for Bettas, they're super-popular with teens and students looking for small pets they can keep in bedrooms and dorms, and such fishkeepers often have very little idea about what they need. You'd be surprised how often Bob and I handle questions from such people who have ended up with sick or dying Bettas, often one or two such emails per day! If rehoming the Betta for a few weeks isn't an option, at least buy a nitrite test kit, don't add any food when there's a non-zero nitrite level, and do 50% water changes every day or two. Ensure the filter is working properly and don't over-clean the filter media (bear in mind it containing living bacteria, so washing under a hot
tap for example will be a disaster). Ensure the heater is working properly too, as Bettas won't live long at room temperature. Some folks misunderstand the whole "Bettas live in jars" thing. Yes, breeders keep them that way before selling them on -- but breeders keep them in heated fish rooms (so don't use a heater in each jar) and change all the water every day (which is why they don't use a filter). This approach requires an insane amount of skill and time, which is why it can't be taken as a template for the home aquarist. A reasonably big filtered, heated aquarium is what you need! Do read the links Bob sent you to; he's an expert
Betta-keeper, and there are VERY MANY similar situations to yours described and explained in the linked FAQs. Cheers, Neale.>>
Betta tank     6/11/16

Hi! My name is MaKayla and I have the Top Fin Aqua scene 2 gallon desktop aquarium starter kit
<This unit DOES NOT contain a heater... Bettas are *tropical* fish... they will die at room temperature (outside of the tropics, anyway).>
and i bought it 2 days ago, set it up, and let it settle for a day before I went and got my Betta fish the next day (today)...
<Unfortunately this isn't how aquarium works. Unless you provide a source of ammonia, "letting a tank settle" achieves precisely nothing beyond demonstrate the tank isn't leaking! Can you return the Betta for a few weeks? You need 4-6 weeks for a tank to properly mature, i.e., for the biological filter to become properly active, assuming an input of ammonia for the bacteria to use, such as small pinches of fish flake every couple of days.>
long story short the tank is overproducing very small bubbles that are sitting at the top of the tank...I already tried filling the tank a bit more and it lessened the bubbles but not by a fraction. Because of this my fish doesn't wanna swim up to the top of the tank to breathe. Any advice??
<The bubbles are probably not a major issue, but can indicate a variety of things. When cold tap water warms up bubbles of oxygen appear, as you notice if you have a glass of water sitting by your bed overnight. Such bubbles will eventually go away. Bubbles can also indicate over-filtering, in which case dial back the flow rate a bit if possible. Some tap water
contains gas under pressure, often CO2 in well water, and again, this tends to fix itself over time, but will cause a dramatic pH change that can stress your fish. I'm a bit more worried about the Betta being inactive -- that usually means the Betta is stressed. Bear in mind it MUST breathe air, and if it's choosing not to, that usually means it's too cold (Betta
respiration rate decreases as they get colder, so the colder they are, they less air they need) or else they're stressed (in which case they try to slink away quietly somewhere safe). This Betta probably isn't happy, so review the tank in the ways Bob and I have suggested, and act accordingly.
At the moment he's merely unhappy; carry on like this and you'll see him sicken and die. Act NOW. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Betta tank     6/11/16

Okay thank you for the help
<Glad to help. Should have mentioned: a 25-watt heater is what you need for an aquarium below 5 gallons in size. Cheers, Neale.>

My Betta needs help, but I don't know what's wrong... New aquarist, given poor info., no reading     5/13/16
So I will start this off from the moment I got my Betta until now and then ask my questions. Hopefully that will help you with your answers.
I got my male Betta from a PetSmart near me on March 2. The guy who sold us the fish told us to get a 1.2 gallon tank for the Betta and to put an African Dwarf Frog in with it. We got gravel and plants and water conditioner and was told that was all we needed.
<.... not so.... Needs a cycled system, filter, heater. READ here:
and the linked files above>
The water was changed every three days for the first couple weeks and then went to weekly changes.
<.... uncycled....>

Both fish and frog ate really well and were active. Almost a month in someone knocked the tank off it's stand so I had to quickly put the fish and frog back into a nearly empty tank and put enough tap water in to keep them alive until I could condition
<Likely only a dechloraminator>
the whole tanks worth of water. They survived and seemed unphased. I was totally freaked out and scared they would die. However over a month later the frog is still fine. The Betta not so much. The webbing in the tail has been disappearing, which it already had some of that issue at the store, but this is worse. It hides more but still eats like a greedy pig. A few days ago I noticed his coloring wasn't as vibrant and yesterday noticed small fluffy like stuff near his tail. He also swims fine but when resting kinda floats over to one side, but just a little bit.
I was informed that the fact that he had no heater and was in such a small tank with a frog was probably the issue.
<Most of this; yes>
That the frog eliminates so much waste that it's difficult to regulate the chemical balance. I've had no way of testing the water or knew I needed to.
So last night I got a 5.5 gallon tank with new gravel and plants. It also has a filter and heater and thermometer.
<Ah, good>

I also bought a test kit and Stress Coat and a bacteria treatment thing. I let the tank filter and heat until it was ready for the fish and frog. They already seem happier. The Betta doesn't hide as much but still more than before.
So now to my questions:
1. What could be wrong with my Betta? (I'll attach pics)
<.... shredded fins... Environmental troubles>
2. Will the Stress Coat help or do I need other treatments?
<The reading>
3. Do I do the bacteria treatment with each water change?
4. How often do I do water change with this new tank? Every three days like when establishing the first tank, or still once a week?
5. If the Betta needs medication, will it be safe for the frog in the tank or will I need to remove one of them?
6. Will my Betta heal or is the damage permanent?
The spot that looks like it's on his head is just dull coat, nothing fluffy is there, at least not yet. Near his tail it's fluffy and his top fin is starting to show that as well.
<Read and then write if all's not clear. Bob Fenner>


Re: My Betta needs help, but I don't know what's wrong       5/16/16
Thank you so much for your reply. I did the reading which helped with a lot of my questions. I still have a few more though. Here's an update: The Betta is doing much better, even some webbing has returned to some of his fins which is awesome since I've only done two treatments of Stress Coat so far. The white patches on him haven't grown any more, but aren't gone yet.
Seeing as how it's only been 4 days since the new tank and filter and heater and Stress Coat has been added, maybe that will just take more time.
<It's all the improved environment, and yes>
I have noticed some color coming back but at the same time the dull area especially on the face looks as fin the fins have fallen off but doesn't look like there are sores. Does he have fin rot?
<... possibly>
Or is it indeed an environmental stress issue left over from the too small tank?
Today the frog died of dropsy, but was kept in the smaller tank. So if I need to treat the Betta I can. Should I wait until the tank has cycled to treat if need be?
<... you should read... on WWM at least, regarding quickly cycling this system>
When doing water changes, do I put the dechlorinator in for the whole tank, or just the water I am replacing?
<The latter>
I do water changes every three days at 20%. Here are the stats on the water.
Day 1
pH: 8.2
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Temperature: 78-79
Day 4
pH: 8.2
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Temperature: 78-79
Thank you again for all your help. There's a lot of information online, but
it varies and is very confusing!
<Just read our postings for now; or my brief book/download (see Amazon.com) re Bettas.... they're for the most part internally consistent. Bob Fenner>

Betta is sick     4/24/16
I feel a little silly writing through email but I'm desperate. Desperate time calls for desperate measures.
At first I believed my fish had dropsy but his scales weren't protruding.
His belly has slowly expanded and has become white on the bottom. He has been sick since February 12th which is why I ruled out dropsy. I think it's a bacterial infection so I use Betta fix
<Of no use>

this week and have been using aquarium salt. PetSmart tells me my water is always clean
<What does this mean?>

when I take him to get help. I have no test kit and my aquarium is too small for a heater.
<Ah my friend; no. Bettas need continuously warm water. There ARE small heaters>
A one gallon tank with a filter.

I thought he might get better on his own but now he just sits at the top behind the filter, I put him in his cup to change his water and noticed that he would roll onto his side like he didn't have the energy to hold himself up. I've cried so much over my Betta. I don't think I have the right to own him. Their genetics are for color not survival and it's
hurting him and me.
Please help me.
Thank you
<I would add Epsom Salt here, and have you read:
1. What does my Betta have?
2. How do I treat it?
3. What am I doing wrong?
<Likely environmental issue/s; fix its world. Bob Fenner>

PLEASE HELP; Betta env. dis.       1/20/16
What's wrong with my beta fish ? He struggles to swim to the top of the bowl
<There. Right there is the problem. Bettas can't be kept in bowls
; get a 4-5-gallon aquarium, a heater, and a very gentle filter (an air-powered sponge, for example) and he'll perk right up with any luck.>
it's like he's straining to get to the top, his colors have faded from blue to gray, his tail has diminished, it's a lot shorter than it used to be and he is having a hard time swimming he just lays in the bottom of his bowl as if to be sleeping, and he is straining to breathe and he isn't eating.
<The thing is that Bettas are tropical fish. But unless you happen to live in Thailand where they come from, your climate is all wrong. Some people get tricked into thinking they can survive at room temperature. I say "tricked" but it's a trick that plays on lack of reading, because EVERY aquarium book states they need to be kept between 24-28 C/75-82 F. Anyway,
we get A LOT of messages just like yours, so don't feel too bad. You're not the first person to keep a Betta in a bowl, and sadly for this species, unlikely to be the last. But in any event, you know what's wrong, so it's an easy fix.>
Sent from my iPhone
<Ironically, the cost of the right set up for a Betta is probably about a month's worth of cell phone service, or less than one-sixth what a new iPhone would cost! So luckily for you and your fish, buying the right equipment shouldn't be too cost prohibitive! Hope this helps, Neale.>

Re: PLEASE HELP      1/20/16
So would this be good for him ?
<So long as there's at least, shall we say, 3 US gallons of water in there, and ideally a little bit more, then yes, that's a good starting point. You will still need a heater of some sort (but a very small one for 3-5 gallons, 25 Watt probably ample unless the room is very cold) and a small filter of some type (I'd recommend a simple air powered sponge or box filter filled with filter wool as cheap and gentle enough not to upset him). Cheers, Neale.>


Betta problem please help!      9/21/15
My Betta Henry has been behaving strange <ly> for about a week, he is kind of lethargic almost all of the time, hides underneath the rocks and tries to stick his head between them. Sometimes he comes up but again, he just floats there. He used to be very active before (I have him for 6 months) and floated motionlessly only over the nighttime.
Here are some of my aquarium conditions:
1) It's a round one. It's my first fish and after some time I realized that a square aquarium is better, but now I have this round tank of about 4 liters.
2) The seller in the shop said I couldn't put filter and warming aggregate in aquarium of this size so I don't have those.
<Ah, no. Bettas are tropical fish; need filtration and steady, high temperature. Likely these are troubles here.
: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
The thermometer shows 25-24
C and I do water changes. I never changed more than 50% of water and I always keep the water I want to pour in a separate glass jar for at least 3 days before I add it.
3) I have rocks and a plant, the other inhabitants of the tank are several melania snails.
4) I cleaned the tank completely about a month ago, Henry was in a glass jar in the meantime.
Please help, I am very worried and tired of constantly checking if he  died.
Tamuna Chkareuli
<Please do the reading; check other reliable references. Your Betta needs an improved, stable world. Bob Fenner>
Betta fish problem some more details      9/21/15

Sorry, I forgot to add these details:
He eats normally. I feed him flakes and sometimes frozen worms that I bought in the pet store.
He used to react on the mirror and attack it, but I showed it to him now and he barely moved.
<The problem is the environment. Fix this and all will be well. BobF>

Re: Revised: Betta Can't See Food & Laying on Side (RMF?)      8/2/15
<Whoa! Will look for this corr. and respond there. BobF>
You are no Bob, Neale. Far from it. So, stop sXXXXing on his legacy.
> Subject: Re: Revised: Betta Can't See Food & Laying on Side (RMF?)
> I know all about Bob that's why I reached out. Don't worry about it Neale.
> I spoke with owner in-person of my LFS today to resolve. Wouldn't want you
> to upset yourself any further with my case. Trust me, I will never contact
> wet web again.
> <Far from upset. There's an old saying that you can lead a mule to a well
> but you can't make it drink. I've told you what's wrong, but whether you
> want to act accordingly is entirely up to you. Bob's around, so feel free
> to write to him expressly. No hard feelings at all. Cheers, Neale.>
Betta Can't See Food & Laying on Side /<<RMF>>      8/2/15

Hi There,
Can't find any of your recommendations to treat the following ... Betta lives in 1G vase with 100% water changes every 3 days.
<<Ahh, had thought this "fad" had long since passed. Bettas need larger, filtered, purposely heated environments. Please read here:
Won't live long or well in vacillating temperature, waste-laden water
. Bob Fenner>
<That's your problem right there. Without getting into an argument -- for which I have no time or interest -- unless the tank is 5+ gallons in size, heated with a heater, and with a simple, air-powered filter, you're keeping your Betta badly. I don't care that breeders have fish rooms (heated to 25-30 C/77-86 F) and keep their Bettas in jars. Those guys undertake a
massively demanding (time, money) approach that isn't practical for someone owning a pet. I don't care if "the guy" in the shop said Bettas can live in jars because wild Bettas live in puddles (they don't, they live in ponds and canals). Unless and until its environment improves, this Betta will continue to sicken and die.>
Always been very active and super healthy.
<Often are for some weeks, even months when kept in jars assuming air temperature reasonably warm. But long term, nope.>
Several weeks ago he started missing his food, as in he can't catch his pellets or bloodworms.
<Bettas, being tropical animals, need a high temperature for their metabolism to work. Below 24 C/75 F, Bettas quite quickly become weak with time, and early symptoms of this (just as with humans suffering hypothermia) is loss of mental "alertness".>
He sees the food, swims around it and tries but can't grasp his food. If I feed him in his mouth off a wooden skewer he will eat the food. He normally eats 2-3 Newlife Spectrum pellets am OR 3-4 frozen bloodworms am (varied).
He is underfed because I went through a swim bladder issue with him last year and wanted to avoid that. Here's the scoop: He floats on side and is very inactive now. He arches his back now when he moves around or gulps for air and also has a slight S curve to his spine too. It sounds like swim bladder but he is NOT overfed. OR TB?! I put 1 teaspoon epson salt for 1G tap water (with conditioner) plus 5 drops Seachem Paraguard. Today is the FIFTH day with Epsom salts and Paraguard (two 100% water changes w/in these 5 days). His fins also just shredded significantly overnight.
The Paraguard treats Bacterial, Fungal, Viral and Parasitic conditions (maybe externally only?). Do I need to get him an antibiotic at this point?
What else can I do? He has no other external body signs except now his gills are expanding a bit larger since the water change this am (they are black). I have also re-read all of the common Betta fish diseases and none of them describe this except for swim bladder yet he is not improving on the Epsom salts. Do you recommend aquarium salt at this point which I
believe you've told me before you are not a fan of. As always, thank you very much for your attention to my Betta. All the best, Kristy
<Kristy, I' m sure you're mean well for your pet and want him to thrive. But you're trying to keep your Betta in a way that won't work, and instead of biting the bullet, you're looking to throw small amounts of money (salt and Epsom salt are both pointless here) in the hope that magically your Betta will respond. I sympathise and understand. But Bettas just don't live in 1 gallon tanks for long, and the horrible myth that they do has led to a great many Bettas dying prematurely. They aren't magic fish able to survive in jars any more than Goldfish can live in bowls. Sure, some do, but just as with Goldfish, for every Goldie that lives ten years in a bowl there are a hundred that don't live ten weeks. Start by grabbing an ammonia test kit and check water quality. If that's non-zero, then that's why your fish is sick. Add a air-powered filter, and short term, do regular (daily) water changes of at least 50%. Don't feed it. Spend the next few days shopping around for a tank 4-5 gallons in size. Trust me on this. It'll be worth. Buy a suitable small heater too. With luck, and anti-Finrot medication, your Betta will get healthier. And if he doesn't, at least you can buy another with some good chance of success. Also do read:
Follow the links therein. Cheers, Neale.>
Revised: Betta Can't See Food & Laying on Side      8/2/15

Hi Again, Temp of water always 80 degrees.
<<Really? Have never encountered a human-living space with such high, consistent temperature.
<How so without a heater? Can't see a heater working in 1 gallon without great risk of burning the fish. Too little water to dissipate heat evenly, and too little space for the fish to avoid touching the hot glass.>
Correction: The inner gill or gill membrane (NOT gill cover) is dark/black and swollen and looks like he's breathing heavier than normal. His head/body is not swollen. Thanks!
<Again, damage to gills is good evidence of ammonia toxicity. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Revised: Betta Can't See Food & Laying on Side      8/2/15

Just WOW Neale. Get hold of yourself! I have the utmost respect for Bob because not only is he amazing, he doesn't send negative or adversarial emails to his followers like you do.
<Want to bet!>
<<Heeeee heeee! He's right you know.... Some days, doozies!
You have been nothing but disrespectful to me with your feedback.
<I'm sorry you feel that way. Merely being blunt and accurate.>
Especially about throwing little money at this and how YOU don't have time to be irritated by me or my stupidity, etc. I waited all day for your response? But now I hear from you at 12:43am in Southern California?
<8:43 AM in the UK, which is where I am. I respond to these messages as soon as practical, despite being on vacation with my wife and 8-month-old baby. I try my best.>
And by the way, it is 85 degrees in my kitchen where he is located.
<At night as well? Seems uncomfortable and unhealthy for you if it is. But whatever.>
I have also worked diligently with the owner of my LFS and went to the store in-person today to go over the various options for him ... but this is what works and has kept his fins intact.
<Until now.>
In fact, the owner said some betas will not tolerate a tank no matter what the tank contains.
<S/he is wrong. I agree the WRONG tank isn't good for Bettas, but I can guarantee you I could create a good aquarium for this Betta with a heater, filter and hood.>
Maybe YOU should reconsider what you do if you cannot be helpful in a positive manner per this forum.
<I volunteer. Don't like the help you're getting, feel free to spend your money at the vet.>
Don't always underestimate the people you deal with.
<I don't. But experience has told me a lot across 10 years of doing sick fish questions for this web site and many magazines. For one thing, people don't always want to be helped. Sometimes they want justification for what they're doing. Not my job to do that.>
Because you're diminishing all the hard work, positive reputation, and relationships that Bob has built with his followers.
<If you feel that, then by all means write to Bob F and tell him so. You are absolutely entitled to tell him that I'm doing a bad job. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Revised: Betta Can't See Food & Laying on Side      8/2/15

Thanks Neale ... Understand your points ... BUT ... I had a 5 G tank for him and he shredded his fins constantly and was very nervous.
<Did you add some floating plants? What sort of filter? I simply don't believe a Betta is psychologically alarmed by being in more than 1 gallon of water. That simply doesn't make any scientific sense. In a big tank with aggressive tankmates, awkward reflections, or an electric internal filter then the Betta could be stressed by those things. But simply by having more
space? No, not logical; these fish don't suffer from agoraphobia!>
He almost died IN the tank. And that was WITH the very smallest current possible.
<You should be able to bleed off air from the air pump until the flow of air through the sponge is very low. This is absolutely the right thing to do. An electric filter won't work in 5 gallons, much too much current in a confined space. I've kept Bettas in 20 gallon tanks with electric filters, but this allowed the Betta to stay hidden among the floating plants.>
I live in SoCal at the beach and it's 80+ indoors all the time so I don't need a heater because his water is always 80-82.
<Not at night it isn't. Unless you live in the tropics, you won't be
experiencing this sort of temperature range 24/7/365.>
For a Betta like mine that will NOT tolerate a tank ...
<Not true.>
would you recommend an antibiotic at this point?
<As per Finrot. But what is the ammonia reading? Let's not dodge the issue here. If ammonia is not zero, then that's why Finrot is the problem. Medication won't result in a permanent fix.>
I am trying to help him NOW and putting him back in the tank won't work for the issues as noted above.
<Do see above, and READ the linked article from last time.>
Contrary to everyone's belief, not ALL Bettas will tolerate a tank.
<Sure they will. But the wrong tank, kitted out or stocked inappropriately is stressful, and many experts will say so.>
I have had several that did but this one will not. By the way, I have had this Betta in his habitat like this for 2+ years now.
<So he's middle aged.>
So, I am not doing anything wrong on the water changes every 3 days. In fact, I had changed his water yesterday but last night he shredded his fins and today I changed it again. So in last 5 days, his water has been changed 3 times with Epsom salts at 1teaspoon per 1Gallon.
<Salt and Epsom salt irrelevant. May make you feel you're doing something, but won't affect fin decay.>
Please advise on the antibiotic if you can.
<See above.>
IF you think it would be warranted at this time to add to Paraguard and/or which type of antibiotic you would recommend since his body looks perfect except for the shredding of fins last night. He does NOT have ANY history of fin rot because of how I take care of him. Thanks.
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Revised: Betta Can't See Food & Laying on Side      8/2/15

<<Will also ask BobF to comment, advise. He's the author of "Betta Success" among others, and is far more expert with these fish than I am. Http://www.amazon.com/Betta-Success-Robert-Fenner-ebook/dp/B00HFAACII
Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Revised: Betta Can't See Food & Laying on Side      8/2/15

PS I live at the beach and nobody has air conditioning. Go figure. What an ass.
<Asinus spp., a most useful genus of equine; hardy, tough and long-lived. A compliment indeed. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Revised: Betta Can't See Food & Laying on Side (RMF?)      8/2/15

I know all about Bob that's why I reached out. Don't worry about it Neale.
I spoke with owner in-person of my LFS today to resolve. Wouldn't want you to upset yourself any further with my case. Trust me, I will never contact wet web again.
<Far from upset. There's an old saying that you can lead a mule to a well but you can't make it drink. I've told you what's wrong, but whether you want to act accordingly is entirely up to you. Bob's around, so feel free to write to him expressly. No hard feelings at all. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta died and I want to know how to make tanks safe for another Betta     11/25/14
Hi there,
I set up a planted 2.5 gallon tank about five weeks ago. The tank has a filter, I used Fluval Stratum Volcanic soil as the substrate in the tank. I cycled the tank for two weeks with only the plants (Brazilian micro sword and Bacopa) and driftwood before introducing one snail and one female Betta. Three weeks later ( this Friday) I noticed the Betta's colour was dull and grey and she wasn't eating. My pH and kH were both very low but all the other levels were perfect.
<pH and KH (carbonate hardness) are of course related. Low KH tends to mean the water has minimal ability to buffer against pH changes, specifically, drops. Day/night cycles occur where high levels of photosynthesis take place, so the pH can end up moving from a very high number during the day (as CO2 is removed from the water by the plants) and back down again at night (as plants no longer remove CO2). This is because CO2 dissolves in water to form carbonic acid, so the more CO2, as at night, the lower the pH (the greater the acidity). General hardness has little impact on pH buffering. In acidic aquaria it's recommended to use a commercial Discus Buffer (typically, a phosphoric acid mixture) to inhibit these pH changes while keeping the pH in the acidic range, typically 6 or 6.5 depending on the situation.>
The tank had dropped to 72 degrees so I thought she was cold and purchased a heater on Saturday which brought the temperature up to 82 degrees.
<You didn't have a heater prior to this? Bettas are tropical fish, and unless your ambient room temperature is 25-28 C/77-82 F, you must use a heater. Ignore any retailer who tells you they don't need heaters -- unless of course he's a tropical fish seller in Bangkok and your Betta is going to live in a garden pond there!>
She just hovered by the heater.
<Saying, "So... cold... need... warmth...">
I noticed a long, white, flat poop hanging from her.
<If transparent or off-white, commonly implies digestive tract infections or something similar that causes a lot of mucous to be expelled, hence the whitish thread. Constipation can do the same thing, but the faeces are normal faeces colour, in this case, some shade of black or brown depending on what they've eaten (though colour-enhancing foods often turn the faeces red).>
I went to my local fish store on Sunday and they said it was internal parasites.
<Which covers a very big range of possibilities, many of which have very different treatments.>
They sold me a medication called Betta revive.
<Nothing more than Naphthoquinones in water according to the manufacturer. Might help prevent Finrot or fungus in a few situations, but this/these medication/s aren't particularly effective. As always with medications, be sensible about cheap products that promise to cure everything without you needing to do a diagnosis. "If it sounds good to be true..." as my dad used to remind me!>
I treated her water Sunday (it turned it dark blue but by morning the colour had disappeared). This morning (Monday) when I went to check on her she was dead.
I would like to get a new Betta but I want to make sure the tank is safe and won't contaminate the new fish.
<Almost certainly an environmental issue, so just do a water change, clean the gravel if needs be, but otherwise don't focus on "hidden germs" as these aren't the issue. Would remind you the tank is a bit small (5 gallons is, for me, the minimum size for "easy" Betta keeping), you must have a filter, and you must have a heater. Water quality must be good, and without a fish, the bacteria will die back, so each day until the new fish arrives, add a little fish flake (about as much as you gave the Betta in one meal) and leave this to rot and so release the bacteria the ammonia they need. No need to add food the next day if the food is still solid and visible. You
can alternatively add ammonia, but that's a bit more of a hassle.>
The LFS said to continue to treat the water as per the instructions on the package, use the gravel vacuum to clean the gravel and do a few water changes.
Wait two weeks and then the tank will be parasite free and safe.
<Possibly, but I doubt that was the issue here. Stress (lack of heat,
perhaps pH variation) allowed the bacteria or Protozoans in the gut to multiply wildly, causing sickness. You can't eliminate these germs in Bettas any more than you can in humans, and as with humans, a healthy Betta has an immune system that keeps them in check.>
I just want to get a second opinion before I introduce a new Betta.
<Can I direct you to the best $5.94 you'll spend today, here:
Or if you don't have a Kindle/eBook reader, here:
Bettas thrive on research. Seriously, $5-10 spend on reading will save you many times that on healthcare costs.>
Thanks in advance!
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Betta died and I want to know how to make tanks safe for another Betta     11/26/14

Hi Neale,
Thanks so much for all your help. My local fish store sold me another product called Betta Basics and said to use it with every water change. I think I am to use it instead of my water conditioner. It claims to remove chlorine, chloramine and ammonia as well as buffering to a pH of 7.0. It doesn't say what is in the bottle anywhere on the label and I am wondering if you would use this or the Discus Buffer you recommended along with water conditioner?
<I don't know this product, but if it promises to buffer to pH 7, then I'd use it without adding additional buffer. Check the pH across a week or two every day or so, and see if the pH is steady. If it is, job done!>
Today I did a 50% water change, treated the water again with the Betta Revive (for whatever that may be worth) and added some food. Tomorrow I will put the charcoal filter cartridge back in and will be returning the snail to the aquarium later tomorrow night.
<Do bear in mind carbon/charcoal removes medications. It also needs replacing weekly to do the things it promises to do. In most FW aquaria, it's almost never worth using, and swapping its space in the filter for more plain vanilla biological filter media will be immeasurably more useful. Of course some filters have carbon pads built into them that you can't substitute, only replace with new carbon pads, and that's a nice little earner for the manufacturer!>
How long would you wait before getting the new Betta?
<If the tank only contained the Betta and no other fish, then there's no real point waiting. Usually, the waiting period between a fish dying and adding a new one is so that you can see if any other fish are going to get sick. It's obviously best to treat sick fish before adding healthy ones.
It's also often the case with aquaria that people have added to many fish (or the wrong kinds of fish) and waiting a while lets the tank settle down.
But in a Betta aquarium, these aren't considerations.>
I got the impression from your reply that I shouldn't leave the tank uninhabited for too long or all the good microbes will die.
<Indeed. But whether you use a fish source of ammonia (a Betta producing waste), a non-fish source (rotting fish food), or a non-living source of ammonia (such as bottled ammonia, used to raise aquarium concentration to 2-4 mg/l) doesn't matter.>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Neale.>
Re: Betta died and I want to know how to make tanks safe for another Betta     12/1/14

Hi again Neale,
So I have determined with help from another LFS that the pH of my tank was 5.0!
<Oh dear!>
They tested the pH of my home tap water and it is 6.5 and my kH is 30 ppm.
<Minimal buffering capacity. So more than likely pH was dropping between water changes. Not necessarily lethal -- rainforest streams that wild Bettas inhabit would be very similar -- but you would need to come up with some way to minimise pH drops between water changes. You can either [a] shorten the "between" time period by doing small (10-20%) changes every day
or two, or alternatively [b] use commercial Discus Buffer to fix the pH around, say, 6.5, and then do your usual weekly water changes.>
I have purchased kits to test pH and kH. I brought home tap water from where I work in a small town and tested their water. kH around 300 ppm, pH 7.5.
<So, liquid rock. Or more accurately, alkaline water, likely out of a chalk aquifer of some sort.>
So I thought doing partial water changes with that would fix my problem, and it seemed to. I wanted to bring my pH up slowly so I did 3 partial water changes (1L each time) in a 24 hour period from Friday night to Saturday night. As you may recall I have a 2.5 gallon tank, filtered, and now heated. Temperature in the daytime is consistently 82 degrees, goes down to 79 degrees at night when the light is off. Every time we have tested Nitrate, Nitrite and Chlorine they have been 0.
I didn't realize the pH would go right back down so I foolishly purchased another Betta, since my pH was testing in the safe range when I tested it after a water change Saturday morning. He is a beautiful Halfmoon butterfly Betta. Every time I do a partial water change the pH comes up between 6.5 and 7.0 but then goes back down to 6.0 over the next few hours. I ran out of water from work so I added baking soda to my own tap water and brought the pH up to 7.5, kH up to 160 ppm. I changed a fourth L of water late last
night/early this morning. When I woke up this morning my pH was back down to 6.0! I just did another 1 L water change and my pH is now back up between 6.5 and 7.0 (probably closer in colour to 6.5) and my kH is 60 ppm.
<Precisely. pH is a moveable value. It's (almost) never steady. In most tanks (without limestone sand/rocks) pH tends to drop because the chemicals produced by decay and filtration are acidic. The rate at which this happens depends on two things, the amount of biological activity (which pushes pH down) and the amount of buffering in the water (which resists the pH drop).
Carbonate hardness is the default buffer, and if you have hard water (as in the tap water from your workplace) then the carbonate hardness is usually enough to inhibit pH changes between weekly water changes. But if you have very soft water, the amount of carbonate hardness is so slight that it's quickly neutralised. Do you remember the old "acid + alkali = salt + water"? That's the deal here. The acids come from the fish, filter, and decaying stuff in the tank. The alkali is the carbonate hardness. The salt is what they make when they react (ultimately, general hardness) and the water is, well, water. If you don't have a lot of alkali, then not much
acid can be neutralised. Buffers are chemicals that dissolve in the water and act like alkali when they need to, keeping the pH at a specific level.>
What do you think is causing it to continue to drop?
<See above.>
I have Fluval Stratum as a substrate, a few little clumps of pretty healthy looking Brazilian Microsword, a small piece of not-so-healthy
looking hornwort (I think that is what it is, rootless and floats?)
<Ceratophyllum demersum... distinctive crunchy texture. Needs a lot of light in tropical tanks. Indian Fern a better alternative.>
I added an artificial plant for some vertical cover for him. The LFS suggested adding a big shell to help maintain the kH over the long-term. There is also a Nerite snail (who the new Betta, Rainbow Fish, flares wildly at whenever he notices it) and two tiny snails that came in on the hornwort.
I have been doing a lot of reading on the web and talking to some people at the LFS who seem very knowledgeable.
And based on what I have learned I am suspicious of the Fluval Stratum? Could that be the problem?
<Some plant-friendly substrates do have a slight acidic tone, not substantial, but in tanks with little/zero buffering, could be a factor.
That said, I'd focus on raising the buffering capacity of the water.>
My plan now would be to remove him from the tank, replace the Stratum with aquarium gravel, try to replant the Microsword in little pockets of Stratum to help seed the tank.
<Overkill. Use of Discus Buffer would be the easiest approach. Used as instructed should be very economical for a tank this size.>
Replace the hornwort as it not healthy.
Is that how you would proceed? Any advice is most appreciated as I really want to do the right thing for this fish. I also plan to drive the 40 minutes in to work to pick up more water or is adding baking soda to my tap water fine until Monday?
<If used in moderate amounts, likely a teaspoon or less per 2.5 gallons. Do mix into some water in a bucket first, check pH and KH, then use; don't add to tank directly.>
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Betta splendens, buoyancy/environment issue      11/1/13
Hi Crew
 I have a question on an event that happened in the following tank. Livestock: 12 x wild caught Paracheirodon simulans, 3 x Ayatopsis <Atyopsis> moluccensis
and 1 x female Betta splendens.
The setup is a 60l, 2’x1’x1’ tank, with play sand substrate, a large piece of “rooty” bogwood, lots of floating Limnophila sessiliflora, no rooted plants and a 600lph filter with spray bar turned against the glass. The plants provide both dead-water for the Betta and shade for the Tetras. I also have a small 200lph peat filter in there, which was unplugged when the tank was put to use for species other than the Paracheirodon. Temperature is 27C.
My question is regarding the female Betta splendens, with what might be a buoyancy issue, but I'm not sure since the water quality went a bit haywire at the same time.
<Oh? In what way/s?>
It was first noticed just over a week ago. She was in amongst the thick mat of floating plants (we never saw her often – those were her domain) but she was on her side. The gilling seemed weak and I thought she was probably on her way out. With nothing else in the tank acting odd, including the shrimp, I put it down to one of those things, turned off the lights and expected to find a body soon.
The next day, and the next, she stayed alive and was eating.
I’ve never yet seen a fish on its side, gilling weakly survive for long. To be on the safe side I checked the tank levels and got an unpleasant result. A high nitrate of 40ppm (too much meaty food for the Bamboos, I think, need to get some Spirulina
powder) and an ammonia of 0.25ppm.

The ammonia didn’t particularly surprise me since the pH was reading 5, which is the lower limit of the test kit, so it could even have been lower.
<If it's easy to do, I would pull the driftwood, and change out about half the water here... Stat>

Nitrite was nil.
<Any is toxic; debilitating>

 I think the 4” deep mat of floating plants might have been all that saved the day for the rest of the tank's inhabitants. My tapwater has a KH of 2, so this unpleasantness isn’t new to me, although not common. 
<I might add a teaspoon of both sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salt) to your stored, make up/change out water per five gallons... to boost KH, GH>
My first instinct was that the Betta was probably suffering from conditions being too acid
<Along with metabolite poisoning, weakening>
 and it was no wonder the shrimp and the Tetra weren’t bothered. The nitrate was high but I didn't consider it so high that it would cause acute poisoning in this species. I had to balance a fast rise in pH with the weakness of the fish and finally settled on doing a 50% water change with temperature matched.
<Oh! Is what I would have done as well>
 I considered buffering the W/C water
<Mmm, we're thinking along the same lines... I would do this as well>
 but didn’t want to overshoot on
the slowness of raising the pH. The first change did nothing, the second pulled the water to pH 5.5 and the third change to pH 6. Each was an hour apart.
<Mmm, unless a DIRE emergency, I'd only "do" half a water change out in a day>
 I left it there and checked pH the next day. It was back to pH 5 or less.
<... do pull the driftwood... You can experiment, leave it in a "bucket" of water, measure the loss of KH, pH drop...>
I had a small tank sitting set up and cycled that I keep for my Amano when I need to move them out of their tank when they hatch, so I emptied this, took water from the 60l tank and refilled it. I took a large amount of floating plants and added these also. I then caught the Betta in a jar and transferred her. I brought the pH back up to 6 in the same manner as before. The next day I took the pH to 7 using buffered water changes in increments. The hospital tank is now stable at my tap water parameters - pH 7, KH 2. Lesson learned - I should have done this in the first instance instead of mucking about in the 60l.
<You're doing fine; have done well here>
With this drama over, she was perking up a bit. Still on her side but was using her pectorals a bit more. I hoped she would perk up further but that didn’t seem to happen. It was then it occurred to me that it might be a buoyancy issue, rather than a water quality problem.
<Mmm; doubtful>
She was a devil for going after the decapsulated brine shrimp eggs I feed to the Bamboo and the Tetras’ flake, despite being hand-fed frozen meaty foods as her main diet.
I had a search about on WWM about Betta buoyancy issues and found out that it could be due to a blocked gut or physical damage through handling.
This sort of fit the bill. Since she hadn’t been handled recently, I went with the advice to feed pea or brine shrimp and add Epsom salts to the tank. Luckily, I had been feeding her frozen brine shrimp recently, when she was on her side in the 60l, so I thought it was probably better not to give her any more than she’d had. I didn’t fancy my chances of getting her to eat pea either. I added Epsom salts to just over 1 tsp per gallon and dripped into the tank over 4 hours. This was six days ago now and still there is no change. No food has been given in 8 days. 
<"These things take time">
I am not certain whether this is stress from the low pH level (and subsequent bounces in pH) or a buoyancy problem.
<My bet is on the simple too low pH and nitrogenous et al. (likely) metabolite exposure>
I’m unsure whether I should be feeding her to build up her strength or fasting her until her gut clears and I don’t know how long I should expect the salts to take to relive her if it is a buoyancy problem due to a gut blockage.
Or I could be barking up the wrong tree altogether.
<Possibly... could be a genetic distortion for instance>
If any of the crew could find some time to advise me on the best way forward for this fish I’d be most grateful.
<Again; I'd do the wood experiment, start bolstering the water quality per the above suggestion, and look for, read Neale's works on WWM re water hardness in freshwater systems. Bob Fenner><<Have sent on to Neale for his input>>
Re: Betta splendens, buoyancy/environment issue <Neale; anything further...?>   11/1/13

<<Not much to add beyond Bob’s comments. Yes, I’d agree that raising the carbonate hardness (classically, through use of calcium carbonate-rich material, like coral sand, but equally easily, if not better, through the use of “Rift Valley salt mix” at 25-50% the quoted dose). You’d be aiming for 4-6 degrees KH, which should provide admirable pH stability around about 7.5, which is well within the tolerances of farmed Betta splendens, and most community fish, but probably not optimal for Paracheirodon simulans. If you wanted to keep a stable pH at 7 or 6.5 for their benefit, then you’d leave the KH alone (almost by definition raising KH raises pH as well) and instead use a phosphoric acid-based buffering solution, i.e., what usually gets sold as “Discus buffer” or similar. Of course pH levels below 7 can/may cause problems for shrimps, so balance the benefits of going below pH 7 against possible problems. Do also not that biological filtration works less well below pH 7, and below 6 barely works at all (hence such tanks need to be very under-stocked and sparingly fed, and preferably stocked with fast-growing plants that absorb ammonia directly). As Bob suggests, exposure to increasing ammonia and nitrite levels, even if slight, but persistent, can/will cause health problems. Fortunately, any such symptoms usually pass once the fish are (carefully, slowly) adjusted back to normal pH levels. I will observe that in outside of breeding fish, in very few cases is there any benefit in aiming for a pH below 7, so much better to maintain this mix of livestock in moderately soft (around 5-10 degrees dH) pH 7 water adequately buffered using the commercial pH 7 buffer of your choice. Cheers, Neale.>>

Sick Betta - Kyra, env. <... 5 megs of pix, no rdg>    9/16/13
Hi there,
I've had my Betta, Sherlock, for around seven months now to keep me company at university. He has a bowl that is somewhere between 1 and 2 gallons, not heated, and no filter.
<... and this is what you'd expect>

 I clean his bowl 2-3 times per week, 90-100% water changes. Over the holidays I looked after three other fishes; one who was sick before he came to me had clamped fins, but I'm not sure what caused them. I tried to fix him, but he was so sick when I got him that he died a little while later.
 Now my fish looks like he is getting clamped fins,
<... Stop. Read here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettasysart.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
though as of yet only part of his caudal fin has clamped. I've not a lot of resources for my fish as my uni is in a small country town, and I am limited in my room at college.
I've been concerned about him for a little while, as the tip of one of his ventral fins has turned white, and there has been a lightening of his dark blue at the back of his anal fin to a lighter blue.
He still acts healthy, eat all his food and swims around but I'm concerned about the fins. I have attached two pictures of Sherlock. Both are named the months they were taken. In the September photo you can see the white tip on his ventral fin. I'm thinking that it could be a fungal thing, but I just don't know exactly what to do.

Agosta and Septiembre

Re: Sick Betta - Kyra     9/16/13
<... don't write: Read where you were referred to. B>
While your answer was prompt, it was not at all helpful. I do not thank you for your rudeness, nor for the fact you did not read the rest of the email.
<I read all; your issue/s here are environmental. The reading, posts on WWM will reveal all this to you>
Many people at college have healthy Betta fish, living in the same conditions as Sherlock. Under your "help" here, I am sure more fish die than necessary as you seem to judge an owner before you assess the actual problem. I have had many fish in the same conditions as Sherlock is in and they have all lived for years.
Luckily I have the contact for a good, local vet here. I was hoping to escape the bills due to my status as a university student living off less than $50 a week. Thank you for making my exam period so much better, you useless XXX. 
Re: Sick Betta - Kyra      9/16/13

<... Kyra; don't take on responsibilities (in this case a Betta) that you either can't nor won't fulfill completely. Further, I urge your civility... Does it make sense (thinking, not feeling) to seek someone's help and swear at them? I'd not keep pets till you have a better income/situation. B>
Oh, I read where I was redirected to, and I am writing to say your help was useless, you arrogant XXX. If you had read what I had written you would know that.
You gave me no relevant information to my situation, but rather redirected me to information that is useless to me as I have no room and no money with which to fix that. My fish is happier in a small tank, I change the water regularly and the thermometer in his bowl says that his water is the right temperature.
So instead of telling me my care for him is insubstantial, tell me what medication I can give him to stop his clamped fins.
Re: Sick Betta - Kyra McHenry     9/16/13

<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_2/Editorial.htm    >
I am fulfilling my responsibilities completely, it is only you, with your arrogant view, that seems to think otherwise. I was told by the aquarium which I bought my fish, and by my biology lecturer at university that how I am keeping my fish was fine. My income is sufficient to keep myself and my fish fed, and his tank conditioned. I stretch it to accommodate for him, as he is one of my top priorities. I think it makes perfect sense to swear at someone whose help you seek and they do not offer adequate advice, though pretend they have, which is exactly what you did. And I seem to have noticed that you still have not offered advice to help my fish, but have instead judged the owner instead of assessing the real issue. You really are completely useless.

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

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