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Old 09-26-2012, 10:09 PM   #1 
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MissMOB's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Los Angeles
Unhappy Internal parasite and white cotton for over a month!!

Hey folks, I got Geo from Petco less than two months ago. The plant I got had a snail on it and shortly after I noticed white cottony on the snail shell and the fish. He's had internal parasites the whole time (I just realized that a couple weeks ago) and the white cotton goes away but returns the next day (I think pieces of his fins are falling off). His gills are also white. I got rid of the snail and the gravel (trying to make the tank as sterile as possible). This just seems never ending and nothing I do works.
I love this little guy; he's a real fighter but I feel like I'm not helping him.
Please see below. Thank you!!

What size is your tank? 3 gal
What temperature is your tank? 76-78
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No?
Is your tank heated? No
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Freeze dried blood worms, betta min tropical medley, and peas since he's been sick.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once a day with fast once a week.

How often do you perform a water change? Once a week.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? It depends. All or 50% because I'm trying to get rid of whatever is making him sick!
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Just dechlorinating drops.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? No. They tested it when I took that darn snail back to the store and said it was fine.

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? It started with me noticing his white lumpy stool. Then he had white cotton on his fins and the tip of the fins were coming off. His gill area has also turned white.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Sluggish. Clamped fins. He just sits there and doesn't swim much.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? A month ago!
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes at first the lady at Petco told me he had fungus so u treated him for 7 days with pimafix. I don't think that did anything. Then the guy at petsmart told me it had to be bacteria so I've currently been treating him for 9 days with melafix. Also I've given him 4 doses of parasite guard and I don't know if that's working either
Does your fish have any history of being ill? The whole time.
How old is your fish (approximately)? I got him from petco less than two months ago.
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:43 PM   #2 
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Location: (USA) St. Paul, Minnesota
Do daily water changes everyday and keep treating him the medications.
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:17 AM   #3 
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Shangdong, China
These are what come to mind about the cotton on the fin:
Scientific name: Saprolegnia species
Common names: true fungus, cotton mold

Saprolegnia is what we call a true fungus, although it falls outside of the Fungi kingdom. It is generally a secondary infection due to an injury, parasites, viral or bacterial infections or other skin issues in your fish. This fungus takes advantage of already injured fish (or fish eggs) and infests the wounds and dead tissue. It occurs more often in fish kept at low temperatures.

This too looks like puffy cotton, but generally does not occur in a saddle-like pattern. It is more likely to affect small areas of the fish’s body or fins. It tends to have more of a hair-like appearance than columnaris. (If you’ve ever left a bit of food in the tank uneaten, the fuzzies that grown on it are most likely saprolegnia)

Treatment: Generally once the underlying condition (usually pseudomonas if on the fins) is treated, the sapro infection will go away on its own. If it does persist, effective treatment would be with a formalin-malachite green solution (like QuickCure). Some sources state that acraflavin, malachite green singly, and Tri-Sulfa can also be used.

Sapro infection on the ray of a CT
Pic thanks to Anielynn

Severe sapro infection
Pic thanks to pandabear
Scientific name: Flavobacterium columnare, flexibacter columnaris
Common names: cotton-wool disease, mouth fungus, saddle-back disease

It is a gram-negative rod bacterium, not a fungus as we often mistakenly call it. Columnaris is present in almost all aquariums, but most often affects fish in stressed by poor water quality, improper or inadequate diet, shipping, etc. It is one of the most common bacterial infections in live-bearers and catfish.

So what does columnaris look like? It is often grey-white and fluffy, like cotton. It most often affects the body of the fish, creating a saddle-like band across the back, or it can affect the mouth. The scales appear to be discolored white, and this can be the first sign of infection. If left untreated, the bacteria can eat away at the mouth and scales of the fish. A less common infection would be of the fins, in which the entire fin would appear to be eaten away from the bottom up, similarly to fin rot or ammonia burns.

If left untreated, this infection is extremely fast-moving and will cause white-edged ulcerations under the fuzz. It is extremely important to treat as soon as you see the infection starting.

The least common and most fatal type of columnaris infection is internal. It has no outward symptoms and the mortality rate within a few days is extremely high.

Columnaris is extremely contagious, so care should be taken to disinfect nets and other aquarium implements between uses and different tanks.

Treatment: Tri-Sulfa for 10 days, clean water and aquarium salt to aid gill function. Maracyn (erythromycin) has also been used with success. During treatment, it is best to keep your temps around 74 degrees. Lower temps prevent the bacteria from growing so rapidly, but too low temps can be detrimental to the overall health of the fish during treatment.

The aftermath of a columnaris infection. Note the white edges on the ulcer.
Pic from RandomWiktor

Columnaris bacteria attacking the mouth
Thanks to Ciddian for this pic

A really nasty columnaris infection
Thanks Phoenix-cry

Columnaris on the face of a female betta
Pic from Assaye
Not sure about the poo but that does usually indicate internal parasites. I would put him into something smaller and start doing 100% water changes daily. if he does have parasites, you don't want them reinfesting him if any are left behind after a small water change. ALso try pming sakura8 for she knows all about fish meds. Or oldfishlady

Last edited by Tikibirds; 09-27-2012 at 01:21 AM.
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