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Old 03-18-2013, 12:38 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: North Dakota
Fungal infection advice?

I just bought a new betta at my local Petco about a week ago. When I brought him home he was vibrantly colored and incredibly active, exploring every inch of the 2-gallon Kritter Keeper I'm temporarily keeping him in (until my 10-gallon cycles). I did notice a tiny white streak on his body, but I thought it was just part of his coloring. The very tips of his tail were also black, which I took to be a mild case of finrot, so I added a drop of Melafix right when I put him the tank and then again a few days later when I did a 50% water change. At this time, he seemed completely fine.

I went home for about three days over spring break, and when I came back last night he didn't look very good. His color had faded dramatically, his fins looked washed out and had developed three or four pinpoint holes near the edges, he was mostly laying on the bottom of the tank or floating in the top corner, he showed no interest in eating, and the white spot was much larger and fuzzy. Based on the info on this website, I figured he had a fungal infection as well as the fin rot.

I did a 50% water change immediately, added more Melafix and a tsp of aquarium salt, and unplugged the 1-3 gallon filter I had been running in the tank, thinking that maybe the current was too strong and stressing him out. I did more research today and decided to stop using the Melafix because I didn't want to accidentally overdose it in such a small aquarium setup. This afternoon I did a 100% water change, unplugged the heater (my room is at a constant 76*F, added a few tsp aquarium salt and added about 1/8 tablet of Jungle Fungus Clear.

I'm planning on continuing this regimen of water change/salt/Fungus clear every day until he starts to look better, and then I'll drop the Fungus Clear and continue with the salt/water until he looks totally healed (though no longer than 10 days). Is this all right? Is there something else I should be doing, or something that I shouldn't be doing? I don't want to unknowingly hurt my fish somehow.

What size is your tank? 2 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 77-80 degrees (my thermometer is kind of hard to read)
Does your tank have a filter? It did, but I removed it
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? New Life Spectrum Small Fish Formula pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? a pinch of food once a day (they're tiny pellets)


How often do you perform a water change? Every few days
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Tetra Bettasafe

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? No :( but the test strips are coming in the mail


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Dull colors, pinpoint holes in fin, a large cottony patch on the side of his body
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Lethargic, no interest in food
When did you start noticing the symptoms? I noticed the black edges of the fins last Monday when I bought him; I saw the other symptoms last night
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I stopped using the Melafix, did a 50% and then a 100% water change, started adding aquarium salt, unplugged the filter, and added Jungle Fungus Clear
Does your fish have any history of being ill? I just got him
How old is your fish (approximately)? I'm not sure--probably about six months?

What do you think, guys? Any words of wisdom from the BettaFish community? I'm really getting attached to this little guy :(
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:49 AM   #2 
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Do not unplug the heater. The temperature dip will cause him stress and it will weaken his immune system.

Melafix can be lethal to bettas because it contains an ingredient that coats their labyrinth lung and causes them to suffocate. It's good you discontinued it.

Can you share photos?

You have good food but pinching is not the best way. Are you talking about the 1mm or .5mm? He should get two small meals a day and one fast day a week.

The cottony patch is probably columnaris, a fast moving agressive infection that presents when fish become very stressed and their immune system weakens, usually from chronically poor water conditions.

Based on your water change routine I'd say that's it.. this size of tank needs at least twice weekly water changes of 50% and 100%. doing 50% every few days will not be enough and by now your ammonia is likely quite high.

This is how I suggest doing those changes to minimize stress and avoid shock:

The 50% changes the betta can be kept in the bowl and use a turkey baster to remove half the water and as much of the debris as possible. For the 100% you need to remove him - scoop him out with a plastic solo type cup and set aside while you thoroughly rinse the bowl and gravel to remove the debris. Then he should be acclimated to the new water by floating for an hour while you slowly add a couple tablespoons of new water to the cup every 10 minutes. When you release him, try to let as little of the old cup water back into the tank as possible. All water changes should use same temp water, matched to running tap using the in tank thermometer and the water needs to be premixed with conditioner before adding it to the betta tank. If you don't already have anything, you can use gallon water jugs from the grocery store - rinsed thoroughly in hot water but no chems.
At this point I would do 50% and 100% changes every other day, or at least 100% on day 2.

He is also going to need meds. What you have may work, but if not I would try very hard to find Kanaplex. If you can't find it Triple Sulfa or Maracyn 1 and 2 (treat maracyns together) have a chance. They will need to be wet diluted for the size of the container. Once you have a med we can help you to do that properly. How did you dilute the fungus clear?

Also if you can find vitachem it will help strengthen his immune system - add at 1 drop per gallon along with your water changes.

Last edited by callistra; 03-18-2013 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:52 AM   #3 
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Location: North Dakota
I tried to get pictures but my camera isn't cooperating. The tank is pretty dimly lit and I can't get a good focus, and I don't want to use flash and stress him out more.

The pellets I use are the .5 mm ones. I got them from a friend who decided that fishkeeping wasn't for him, and I decided not to buy the larger pellets when I compared the two and saw that the ingredients were identical. They seem fine, except I haven't quite figured out how many to give because they're so little. I usually just scoop a bit in and use a spoon to remove the remaining food after a few minutes.

I didn't dilute the fungus clear so much as just tried to follow the instructions on the box--it says to use one tablet for 10 gallons, and to dose again after four days. I cut it into quarters (assuming a quarter of a tablet was the proper doseage for 2.5 gallons) and cut maybe another third off of that quarter, so I used about 1/6 of the tablet. I added it to the new water I put into the tank, and then acclimated the betta to the water as you described. Since the tablets don't include any instructions on water changes, I figured that I'd replace an equal amount of medicine with each 100% water change.

I did change 25% Monday night (the day I got him) and 50% Wednesday (because I knew I was leaving town until Saturday, when I was planning on doing another water change), but I do think the filter was really stressing him out. The current didn't seem overly strong, but he avoided that half of the tank or sometimes hid behind the filter. I took it out and am planning on doing another water change tomorrow.

I've had luck with Fungus Clear before, several years ago when I last kept a betta, so I'm crossing my fingers that it will work again. He doesn't seem to be perking up in a day or two, I'll definitely check my local fish stores for the meds you listed, though I'm pretty sure I'd have to order Kanaplex online.

I have seen a little improvement since last night--he's moving around a little more, and his fins aren't clamped as tightly as they were yesterday when I got home or even this afternoon. And at least he doesn't appear to have lost any finnage, despite the tiny holes and the pale fins.

So I should change the water 100% again tomorrow, or would that be too soon and stress him out unnecessarily? Could the tap water have something to do with it? I've found it significantly harder to keep fish of any kind since moving to this city a few years ago, and so have several of my friends from various locations. And if so, would a better water conditioner help? I have Seachem Prime coming in the mail and it should be here by Tuesday--I've noticed that a lot of people on this forum swear by it.
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:50 PM   #4 
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I would start with 10 a day as a low (split up into two feedings) and I would say up to 16 wouldn't be unreasonable, but that would be the high end.

The small fish formula isn't the same as the betta formula though. It has lots vegetables which are not good for the bettas on a regular basis and may make them pass through their system so quickly that they are unable to absorb much nutrients in them. I keep some NLS with veggies in them around for when my guys get slow so.. on a regular basis I'd be worried about lack of nutritional absorption

Dry cutting is not an okay way to dilute for a smaller size container. What you need to do is fully dissolve the tablet in 10 parts of treated water.. 10 cups..10 tablespoons whatever. Then you take 2.5 parts (keep the same unit of measurement you used before) into the tank to treat.

Yes I see dosage instructions suck.. in this case I would just do daily 100% changes along with a full redosing of meds. I would plan on doing this for at least a week.

If you could find out the ph, gh and kh of your tap water that might be helpful, or ask your local fish store if they know if there's anything specific in the city water that might be harmful for fish above and beyond normal tap water. I wouldn't be quick to change it.

Last edited by callistra; 03-18-2013 at 05:53 PM.
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