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Old 06-24-2012, 01:28 AM   #1 
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Exclamation Genius Betta very sick; please help!

Please help me get my little Betta better. He is quite a genius betta. I know that you can teach bettas to "jump" before you feed him but he actually jumps up and grabs pellets straight from your finger. He is an extremely friendly betta and gets very excited when people walk by. If you stare at him for a long time (and he's healthy). He'll do this thing where he'll go on his side and stretch out his fins and look at you. Then act all shy and swim away. But then he'll return and stretch out his fins again. When he first got into his bowl (since it's glass) he thought it was another better and chased it furiously. He stopped after one day. Now even if it's angled and he sees his reflection even more clearly he knows it's not another betta. I honestly think my betta has an extremely high IQ. (No I did not name him, I am very attached to him, and not naming him is just more of something I've never done. I've had turtles for over 15 years and never named them not because I didn't love them, it's just my thing I guess. I never remember names of anyone I meet either, guess names never were my thing :P). Although, I do talk to him everytime I see him. And I always say "Heyy Buddy, good job Baby." So you can use Buddy/Baby interchangeably if you'd like to refer to him as such too.

I bought my Betta from Petco and unfortunately I do not have any fish stores nearby, therefore the medication I have access to is very limited. Petco seems to favor "all natural" medicines and don't have many strong medications despite the fact that they sell Bettas in bulk.

I'm hesitant to do a water change only because he got sick both times with his last two water changes. I think he may have a lowered immune system and along with the stress of a water change he gets sick.


What size is your tank? 1 gallon glass bowl
What temperature is your tank? Unsure, room temperature is 84F
Does your tank have a filter? No
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Is your tank heated? During winter
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? No

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari Betta Bio-Gold
How often do you feed your betta fish? 1 pellet in the morning, 1 at night (we used to feed more but then he got swim bladder disorder so we had to feed him less)


How often do you perform a water change? Once a week with drinking water
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? Aquarium salt, water conditioner (wasn't used until he was sick since we typically use drinking water so it wasn't necessary).

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: N/A
Nitrite: N/A
Nitrate: N/A
pH: N/A
Hardness: N/A
Alkalinity: N/A

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? His gill appears to be a dark red color. He's lost a LOT of color. He used to be a brilliant red but it's like all the color just started falling off his fins or something. His fins are also clamped and not brilliantly shown (though no apparent fin rot!)
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He sometimes lays on his side on the bottom or almost completely vertically toward the top. Sometimes he would dash to the top for air or something and go back down.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? This morning
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, with multiple treatments (I really wanted to save the little guy!) He just recovered from a Bacterial infection and was on BettaFix for six days and extra aquarium salt. He was pretty much all better on the third day, but I wanted to be safe. He was still very spritely after his water change yesterday morning. This morning he suddenly was lying sideways on the bottom breathing heavily. I first added extra aquarium salt, then I added Kent Betta Bowl Essential (because according to the description it also neutralizes ammonia, which I believe he has ammonia poisoning). I then went to Petco to see if I could obtain any stronger medicine. Since a gill infection could be either ammonia or bacterial (I ruled out nitrate because it's not tan colored), I got two things. Tetra Lifeguard (which is an all-in-one treatment, I broke up the tablet so i wouldn't over treat) and Acurel Bodyguard Rx (mainly because it helps with his slime coat and has aloe vera and plus it's supposed to boost his immune system which I think he needs since this is the third time he's gotten sick EVER and these two times were consecutively).
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Yes, he had a fungal infection in December because his water was too cold. We treated him with aquarium salt and Betta Revive. When that wasn't working, we got him a heating pad that warned his temperature up significantly and he got better shortly after that. It was very strange he suddenly got sick twice in a row.
How old is your fish (approximately)? He was bought in May 2011 but he was already fully grown at the time. He's definitely over a year old.
Additional Notes: Since, as you can tell, I'm very fond of him, and might've overdid it on the medicating, he has responded positively a bit! He is no longer completely lying on his side or floating vertically near the top (although he is still slightly slanted on the bottom). And he also ate! (The petco guys said "As long as he's still eating, there's hope.") My betta adores his food though, and unless he's extremely ill, he ALWAYS eats. He was also completely unresponsive earlier, but after my medicating, he is still lethargic but responds again.

Would anyone care to give any suggestions? Please also keep in mind I co-own my betta with my dad who is extremely stingy and says thinks like, "He's not even worth that much money. You shouldn't spend so much money curing a fish, blah blah blah." The last two medications for example, I just put on my own card and didn't bring up the money so that he couldn't complain. That being said, I can also not afford $200, or even $80 treatment medications, unfortunately.
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Last edited by missmayr; 06-24-2012 at 01:43 AM.
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Old 06-24-2012, 02:48 AM   #2 
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He isn't looking so hot.

My first though it always about water quality. I suggest doing a 100% water change, scrubbing the bowl too. If you have gravel, swish it around with some water and dump it to get any poop/debris out of it. Fill the bowl back up but use tap water and water conditioner instead of drinking water OR distilled water. Distilled is bad to use because it has no minerals and whatnot in it and the fish need some of those minerals. Extra Slowly acclimate him back into his bowl.

With an unfiltered bowl, you should do 2 water changes a week. one 50% and one 100% cleaning out the gravel.

ow has your betta fish's appearance changed? His gill appears to be a dark red color. He's lost a LOT of color. He used to be a brilliant red but it's like all the color just started falling off his fins or something. His fins are also clamped and not brilliantly shown (though no apparent fin rot!)
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He sometimes lays on his side on the bottom or almost completely vertically toward the top. Sometimes he would dash to the top for air or something and go back down.
I'm thinking he may have ammonia poisioning which is why I suggested the 100% water change using tap water and water conditioner.

  • Fish gasp for breath at the water surface
  • Purple or red gills
  • Fish is lethargic
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fish lays at the bottom of the tank
  • Red streaking on the fins or body
Ammonia poisoning can happen suddenly, or over a period of days. Initially the fish may be seen gasping at the surface for air. The gills will begin to turn red or lilac in color, and may appear to be bleeding. The fish will being to lose its appetite and become increasingly lethargic. In some cases fish may be observed laying at the bottom of the tank with clamped fins.

As the damage from the ammonia poisoning continues, the tissues will be damaged as evidenced by red streaks or bloody patches that appear on the body and fins. Internal damage is occurring to the brain, organs, and central nervous system. The fish begins to hemorrhage internally and externally, and eventually dies.

If bettafix is working, continue using it but be careful with it and do NOT overdose him or it can destroy his breathing organ which can result in death. Or are you using the Tetra medication?

how much aquarium salt are you using? It should be 1 teaspoon per gallon but do not use for more then 10 or so days or it can also cause internal damage

Last edited by Tikibirds; 06-24-2012 at 02:53 AM.
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Old 06-24-2012, 02:54 AM   #3 
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i know how u betta doe the samething..i just had 5 girls pass away.last one was about 3 days ago...i would do a water change since he is in a bowl and no filter.from the red gills.and i hate to say this but need to,my fish all had the samething..i learned it was from ammonia burns on their i think my fish died from other problems also sicne i had a sick fish in there before they all died and they ate at her...

as im reading the symptoms and typing this.its the exact samething that happened to my girls..they did everything u just mentioned...

for the treatments.u could be making him worse...i would first do a 100% water change.clean any gravel and ornaments you have in there including the bowl.dont use soap.if you have white vinegar,dilute it in water.then rinse everything off.any plastic plants can be boiled in hot water.the bowl can actually be ran in a dishwasher with no soap..make sure the water is room temperature and you are using water conditioner to get out the chlorine and other harmful chemicals..what i do is have 3 gallon jugs with water in them..i let it sit atleast 24 hours to get ride of the chlorine etc..but if i have to use straight faucet water.i also use the water conditioner.i do it ea
either way just to be safe...

if you are going to use salt.make sure you are using aquarium salt and reading the directions on the label.the best thing to help him is the water changes and bacteria and fungus medicine..i didnt have the money to buy any at the time..i see someone else has posted also..ill read theirs and finish reading your post and possibly add more on here is needed..but dont get frightened by what i said.
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Old 06-24-2012, 02:55 AM   #4 
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it looks like Tikibirds has covered pretty much what i wanted to say.
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Old 06-24-2012, 02:59 AM   #5 
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oh i forgot to mention that the temp of the water might be a little too keep it around 78-80..mine is set to 78 in 1 tank and 79 in another.they have cheap betta bowl heaters at petco and petsmart..if you can cool down the apartment a little it would help as long as the temp of the water stays in that 78-80 temp.but thats my personal opnion.i ue to have another betta for over a year in another place i lived at and thats what his water temp was.and i did a 100% water change about every 2 weeks and cleaned his bowl.and did 25-50% water change once or twice a week as needed..
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:09 AM   #6 
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Temps are not the cause, its summer and a hot one to add my bettas sometimes get to 90f(nothing I can do about it) and they are fine.. avrg temp in the summer is 82-84c water(heater off).

I don't think its ammonia poisoning but super clean water is enough to deal with a mild case.. (He is very right about the tap water do it..)

On the other hand I think he has something more serious, you are not underfeeding and he is extremely thin ..

I would stop all treatments give him a day to relax abit from treatment and use that time to determine exactly what he's got. I'm leaning towards internal parasites maybe.
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:26 AM   #7 
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im not saying its the water temp cauing the problem.just pointing out it might be a little too summers here get over 100 F you meant F not C rite?82c would be too hot.even for humans..sorry just want to make sure im not reading incorrectly..

it sounds and looks more like ammonia burn.and considering he was hesitant about changing the water because he gets sick every time.he could be leaving the water in too long..

i do agree to stop all treatments.only other thing i can think of is he has a fungus or bacterial infection.its mostly on the inside and not affecting the outside.ammonia will burn from the inside out.

but it could very well be something more serious.i would like to know for just incase my fish go through it again im more prepared.i could be just going based on what i read online on several sites and my post that was on here as well..4 of my girls died from it the past week.the first was killed.but she was sick with i wonder if they got sick from her and because my ammonia was so high and it was a mixture of things all together.

some of the symptoms didnt all point to ammonia i do agree with you that it might be something more serious and now makes me think about it..good point..i appreciate it.
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:33 AM   #8 
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He looks very skinny to me. I have not had a fish with the illness yours appears to have. I know how attached you can get to the little guys. They have such great personalities and they are all such unique spirits. :)

If I saw correctly in your post above you are using purified drinking water as his water? It's not really good for them. Everything, good and bad has been removed from that water.

Using a tap water dechlorinator on regular tap water would probably be better. (the small bottle of top fin tap water dechlorinator is inexpensive at Petsmart. Petco carries Prime which is a very good tap water conditioner. I looked at the choices of water conditioner from Petco online, I can't say I have experience with any others listed. Look for one that removes chlorine, chlorimine, and heavy metals though. If you find one that uses less drops per gallon it is a better deal in the long run. Prime is probably your best bet IMO. (If you decide to read about the product.) Even if the bottle you get does not say how many drops per gallon someone here could tell you how many to use and you can write it on the bottle.

Water companies put in chlorine in the winter and chlorimine in the summer. Something I read may change this to chlorimine all the time, at least in my area. (I could be mistaken.) Prime, I think, has something to help detox ammonia in it too.

Changing the water with fresh dechlorinated water, as close to temperature to the water he came out of is also very important. If I were you I would get a thermometer and a small heater for his tank. You can likely get both for under $20. If the water temp difference is too great it can shock him and that could lower his immune system to other illness. If your temperature in your house changes a lot where you keep him it would be a very good investment. Especially if you spent a little more for an adjustable heater, instead of a non adjustable heater, if your tank is big enough for one.

Did you notice any stringy white poo when he is going to the bathroom? Or is it brown little round things? I am going to recommend OFL look at your thread too. I'm really worried about your little guy. OFL is my hero from when I joined the forum, it couldn't hurt to have her opinion too.

A lot of people posted while I was typing this, sorry if any information I typed is a repeat of things already touched on.

If any of this information is incorrect please correct me. I don't want to sound like i'm harping on you either just wanted to pass on the information.

BTW- my fish room/computer room temp is currently 92F and my tanks are at about 82 degrees F. So I wouldn't worry about your room temp being too hot.

I hope your little guy gets better soon!
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:54 AM   #9 
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Yea sorry meant F not C :P You are right it might be a cause for a symptom but sounds unlikely with its rarity to effect betta and other symptoms..
The ammonia might have been the kick starter here but I don't think that is the main problem right now, Look at him with a flash light, it might be just the light but looks like he has some golden dust on him.

I think we need abit more information and few more pictures but yeah pming OFL is a good idea :P

Last edited by Bladezero; 06-24-2012 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 06-24-2012, 06:31 AM   #10 
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hehe sorry.just wanted to make sure i wasnt reading incorrectly...the only thing i see the temp having any cause to this is the fact that there is more oxygen in the water when the temp is down.i realized i worded it wrong so it sounded like the temp was the cause or had a lot to do with it.sorry about that..

i too think the ammonia had some part.not the actual cause.with my fish 1 betta had ICH.i separated her several days after i realized what it was,and then started to medicate time went by i seen 1 simple white spot that was healing and decided to put her back in the tank with the filter so not to stres her so much on water changes.a few days later i seen she was dead and had a hole in her from being ate at..

but i know the ammonia in my water contributed to the fish that were already ick and stressed.its also why i stated not to get over worried or anything.i think my case wasnt that simple and didnt want to scare anyone.

i too agree think we need more info and more glad you pointed out the ammonia possibly being what kick started it..i wouldnt have thought that and would just think it was dad use to be a manager at a pet store and his specialty was aquariums.he too pointed out that it wasnt so much ammonia but other things added especially my betta being glad yall had posted as well.

now i really want to help missmayr.i dont want anyone to have to go through what i still getting over it and trying to decide what i want to do with my aquarium :) again i apologize
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