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Old 12-14-2012, 11:31 PM   #1 
Starfish1's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Help! Sick betta w/ bad reaction to tetracycline!

I have a 9 month old giant plakat female betta with holes in her fins, and then a day later red streaks in her bottom fins and on the two little front fins. She also has a bloody spot near her eye. I think it could be fin rot that progressed to septecimia. I didnt have a heater for her until last week but the room she's in is usually 75 degrees. We had a power outage last month for 3 days during the hurricane and all my betta's water temperatures went down to 70 degrees, then a few weeks later I noticed holes in her tail and then the streaks. I started her on API tetracycline according to the directions on the box & did daily 90% water changes for the last 3 days. I have used this medicine in the past quite a few times both on bettas with fin rot and other tropical fish, and have had no problems at all. This is the first time I have used it with her, and she has been breathing very quickly. Today when I woke up she was staying at the top vertically and kept pratically jumping out for air. I did a 90% water change real quick to get the tetracycline out of the water and then ran to walmart and got an air stone and put it in her tank. She is still breathing quickly but no longer hanging around at the top gasping. If I go near her tank she begs at the top for food like usual - she's a very big eater and begs a lot and eats a lot without having any swim bladder problems but seems to be much hungrier lately. She is being social and interacting with me. I put some pellets in and she gobbled them up. I am worried though, about giving her the 4th dose which she is due for tonight (which would complete 1 full round of tetracycline). I think it would be best to stop giving it to her but my concern is that she looks like she has a lot of improvement today, red streaks are fading to pink and barely visible, her eye is better, fit rot has stopped progressing. If I take her off the tetracycline before completing all 4 doses, is it likely that she will start to get symptoms back again? I don't want to cause antibiotic resistance and have her get worse again but I don't think she can handle this medicine. Has anyone else had a betta who had breathing difficulties while on medication and what did you do? Also has anyone had an experience stopping medication too soon and did your betta get worse? Would it be ok to just put the 4th dose in since there is an air stone now?

my other thought is, is it possible that just being sick could cause her to breathe more quickly regardless of whether i had put medicine in or not?

Thanks for everyone's help!


What size is your tank? 10 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 80 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? just added one today due to trouble breathing
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? pellets, flakes, freeze dried bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? once or twice a day (she's a giant betta and eats a lot)


How often do you perform a water change? every week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 30-50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I either let the water sit for 24 hrs or I add Prime to it. 1/2 tsp aquarium salt per gallon

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


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Holes in fin, red streaks in fins and near her eye, looks paler than usual & has a stripe (stress?)
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? she is constantly begging for food, and super active, which is odd for being sick
When did you start noticing the symptoms? this week
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? api tetracycline for 3 days but had to stop due to bad reaction.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no
How old is your fish (approximately)? 9 mos

Last edited by Starfish1; 12-14-2012 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:46 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: phoenix AZ
though i have not been on here for a while and forgot a few things.i do have 4 bettas.and will give what i personally would do for the time being..hopefully someone more knowledgeable will get on and reply before or after this with more help.

put her in her own a 1 gallon.i have a 1 gallon as a hospital tank that i just got done using today and may use again tomorrow with a sick betta..

keep fresh water in there.change water even twice a day with a 100% every other day.

she sounds to be getting better with her previous conditions.stopping medications too soon i dont think would hurt.if u were doing it constantly over the recommended dose and use.i think it would.but also stopping too soon could mean the medication hasnt fully gone into effect.

u could go ahead and finish it 1 more long as she isnt trying to escape or staying at the top or even stopped eating she should be fine.but thats just me.i wont say do it because u can see what shes doing exactly and i dont want to say do something that could make things worse.i personally would also give it the last day.even if just over night and change it when u wake up.
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:49 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: phoenix AZ
oh the stripes do sound like shes just under stress.also keep her in a dark area with minimal walking buy.other pets getting to her.i usually cover my emergency tank with a cloth allowing an opening at the top for air circulation.i do this during treatment depending on how stressed my fish is and her black molly nearly lost her tail.i covered her.treated her with tetracycline.and a month and a half later.shes back to her old i didnt treat her with tetracyclin that long.just twice or a total of 8 days.but i changed her water a lot.fed her a little.kept her in the dark.
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Old 12-15-2012, 01:33 AM   #4 
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Join Date: Jun 2010
You always need to add prime. Letting the water sit is not good enough.

Tetracycline has always freaked out my fish and hasn't been useful for much. If it is septecemia it's usually from poor water conditions and tetracycline wont' help anyway. Your only shot at this would be Kanaplex or Maracyn Plus.

Since you're not adding conditioner, she may be suffering from this. I would add an equal ammount of conditioner to accomodate the 10 gallons of tank water if you have not already.

Are you sure you don't even have any nitrates? Once a tank is cycled you usually see some..

I would cut the flakes and only feed pellets and blood worms (if you are doing anything freeze dried you must soak prior to feeding because they're too dry and will lead to internal problems). How many and what pellets are you feeding?

Photos would be helpful.
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Old 12-15-2012, 03:56 AM   #5 
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Shangdong, China
it might not be the tetracycline that caused the vertical floating. With my first bettas I didn't know about water conditioner and the day after I got them, they would be floating vertically. Something in the tap water may be the cause. They breathe air so would an airstone actually do anthing to help?

Normally in order for meds to work, you need to finish the treatment.

Ingredients: 250 mg capsule of Tetracycline Hydrochloride activity
Diseases: antibiotic, treats ulcers and open soars, frayed fins, mouth and body sores, abdominal bloat, red patches, bacterial infections, livebearer disease, fungal infections, dropsy, furunculosis
Cannot be combined with any meds except for medicated foods. Very effective at low pH or acidic water condition with pH no more than 7.4-7.5 otherwise ineffective when used with salt and high hardness levels.

I woud say if your PH is high, stop the treatment but 7 is neutral so....
PM oldfishlady or sakura8 for they know all
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