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Old 08-04-2012, 12:58 AM   #1 
mrszukes
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Betta's head turned white??

Hello,
This is my first time posting here and I am hoping someone can help me!

My 5yr old son came home with a betta after a day out with Grandma about 5 months ago - I knew nothing about fish care so we have been learning on the fly. I had him in the tiny little square tank that Grandma bought, but that didn't seem fair and after the reading I was doing it didn't seem very warm either, so I bought a bigger tank after about 2 weeks.

Things have been fine for 5 months, but a few days ago I noticed his head starting to turn white on one side, and now it has progressed to his whole head, both sides. I have moved him back into the tiny bowl while I clean his tank. He is eating just fine, swimming around fine, flaring up at everything (he is fiesty!) and making bubble nests in the little tank...so he doesn't seem miserable, but what do I know about fish?!
Ok, here are the questions answered as best I can:

Housing
What size is your tank? 3.5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? About 81 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? I don't think so...
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? Generally give him 2 or 3 pellets twice/day

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? I hadn't until now...the petstore lady said to just change the filter unless the water got dirty or stinky & it was still crystal clear.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? n/a
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I have to add water due to evaporation & then I add a betta water conditioner with the new water.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? No

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Head has gone from black to white, tail/fins look rough
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Not that I have noticed
When did you start noticing the symptoms? a few days ago, maybe 4 or 5...
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Moved it into a tiny bowl and adding BettaFix as directed by petstore.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no
How old is your fish (approximately)? 5 months since we got him - no clue how old he was then.

I am trying to attach a before/after picture as well, hope that it works and it helps us get some answers!

Thank you in advance!
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:26 AM   #2 
xShainax
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He is marbling. It's a natural color
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:09 AM   #3 
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Yeah that would be my opinion too. He is changing colour it happens at times.
If he is still active/eating/making nests/flaring and his fins are ok there probably is nothing wrong. I belive mine is in the process too.

Do though start to make some water changes. The filter does cope up but the tank needs at least partial water changes once/twice per week to be on the safe side.
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:28 AM   #4 
mrszukes
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Well, I am relieved to hear that it might not be as terrible as I've been imagining!
I will start doing some partial changes for sure if that is what is needed - how much should I change out at a time?

So, what about his tail & fins? They are looking pretty sad these days, and I think it has been a gradual decline but they have worsened recently, around the same time as he started turning white... It doesn't look like the pictures of fin rot that I found, but could that be it?

One last question for now - I have been fasting him for the last 1.5 days because I read that constipation might cause him to turn white, but without his belly bloating I don't think that is the problem. So I moved him back into his big tank this morning and gave him 3 pellets, which he gobbled up, and then about a minute later spit right back out. So I tried to give him 1 more, he ate it and again spit it back out a minute later. I scooped 2 of the 4 that I could find out of the tank, but why is he not eating now??
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Old 08-04-2012, 11:12 AM   #5 
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Could be the medicine or he is tailbiting
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:38 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? I hadn't until now...the petstore lady said to just change the filter unless the water got dirty or stinky & it was still crystal clear.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? n/a
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I have to add water due to evaporation & then I add a betta water conditioner with the new water.
If you haven't changed the water in ...five months... (pet store people are notoriously stupid when it comes to bettas..) there is going to be a massive buildup of toxins in the water - not only ammonia but all kinds of nasty. What happens then is that there's a kind of chemical process in all that concentrated poison that turns ammonia into ammonium and stops the fish from dying quickly. However, all the other gunk in the water -will- slowly weaken and eventually kill your fish.

But if you change the water suddenly, two things can happen - 1, your fish goes into shock at the new water chemistry especially if you don't acclimate him slowly. 2, tons of built up ammonium (not harmful) reverts right back to ammonia (harmful).

I don't think this fish is marbling after 5 months.. I could be wrong about that, however... and his fins look awful. Those holes are caused by ammonia, and possibly bacteria.

I'm glad he's not in his home tank -- glad you're cleaning it out. Do the first few water changes in the small bowl very slowly - 25 % at a time. Do one of those every 15 mins for an hour (or slower/smaller amounts over a longer time, if you can), then keep the changes regular from that point.

In a gallon bowl, you'll need to change the water 50% at least twice a week, as well as 100% once a week. That's the problem with little bowls - poisons build up quickly. In fact, to help his fins heal, he'll need really pristine water (100% every 2nd day is what I do, with advanced fin rot in my 1.5 g hosp tank, you may prefer to do daily in a 1 gallon) and some salt.

Get some rock salt, 1 teaspoon per gallon and predissolve this in conditioned water (Prime's the best water conditioner there is, imo, and great value for money) for every water change.

No more than 10 days of that. See if his fins improve. Keep him in the small tank for all this, it'll be easier to clean regularly.

I wouldn't use any of the bettafix, melafix stuff on any of my fish, ever - there's a risk of injury to breathing organs and it's just an antiseptic with limited uses anyway. If there's a serious infection, I use salt early on, or a proper antibiotic if it's fast or advanced.

If you can get some ketapang leaves (Indian Almond Leaves or IAL) and darken his water with one, this will provide a natural betta-friendly antifungal and antibacterial quality to the water. They're pretty cheap for a large bag, usually, and can be bought online.

Is that white colouration fuzzy/soft looking at all? Or is it like the rest of his scales, only pale? That will help figure out what's happening with it.

Last edited by Aus; 08-04-2012 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 08-04-2012, 01:56 PM   #7 
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@AUS.....

My Sparkle's fins look similar to the pic on the right....raggedy-looking I was under the impression he was tail-biting. But he does have a white-spot or it kinda looks like a hole through his tail....it is on both sides...hard to tell if it actually a hole or not.

Ends of his fins are whitish with some dark areas .... are his fins just growing back or is this something else???

He is in a 5 gallon tank with silk plants, a flower-ball cave (very smooth inside & out) and smooth 'gems' as substrate. No heater yet....temp okay in room since it is summer....getting one before cold weather sets in just to be on the safe side. See my profile album pics.

I siphon-vaccuum tank once a week - 50% to 75%. Use water conditioner when refilling.

What is your take on his fin issue?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:06 PM   #8 
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Hi Misty - if you make your own thread for him or have one already, I'd be glad to answer there as best I can, so as not to hijack this thread.
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:40 PM   #9 
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AUS....I think I have a thread already about this. This thread had a real good pic of how Sparkle kind of looks.

It was on 7-26-12. He looks different than the pics in that thread now. Looks more like the one here.
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:44 PM   #10 
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Aus....it is called "what is wrong with fins?"

Sorry about the possible 'hijack'
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