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Old 12-25-2012, 09:27 PM   #1 
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Is my fish sick?

Hi all,

I've had my betta fish Willy for about a month now.
He's doing fine, but I'm just worried about his appearance.

I'm not sure if you can tell in the photos, but his head seems to be missing scales. This smooth, pinkish spot has been steadily growing.

And there are these black spots all over him now.
I think he had a little bit before I picked him up from the petstore, but I think it might have been increasing as well.
Is my fish okay?? Please help!!

What size is your tank? 1g
What temperature is your tank? 72 F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes, but not in use.
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? Marimo moss ball

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqueon Color Enhancing Betta Food
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 pellets for breakfast/dinner


How often do you perform a water change? Weekly
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 30~40%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? TopFin Betta Water Conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? No

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? Bald(?) Spot is growing
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He's doing great
When did you start noticing the symptoms? a week or two ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No I decided to wait it out
Does your fish have any history of being ill? N/A
How old is your fish (approximately)? N/A (I literally have no idea)

Last edited by echung; 12-25-2012 at 09:39 PM. Reason: Added Info
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:26 PM   #2 
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Those black spots on the scales of your fish are natural.

Nothing to be concerned about, don't be surprised if your fish starts turning more pink every month. Betta's change color slightly as they get older.

That pearl type color is normal too. Dragonscale metallic.

Try to get a picture of him in full flare, I'm curious to see what the rest of the fins look like.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:52 PM   #3 
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Your betta's color looks okay to me. He may be a little bit clamped.. Not sure if he's moving through the water of if that's clamp, which is a sign of stress. Some of your habits need to be adjusted so he can stay healthy.

First off your betta needs a minimum of 2 gallons. Anything less will be very difficult to keep him healthy in the long run. He will likely not live as long and he will always be subjected to low amounts of ammonia which is primarily why he won't live as long.

In something this small it is good you are not using the filter. They're pointless and they will only stress the fish out because the space is so small. Also you need a minimum of 2 weekly water changes a week - one 50% and one 100%. A lot of people will even do 3 weekly changes - 2 small followed by the 100%, because if you test you will see ammonia about every 48 hours.

Your Tofin conditioner is ok. It's doing its job, however for keeping bettas in smaller uncycled bowls I suggest Prime. The reason is Prime will turn some of that toxic ammonia into harmless ammonium which is very helpful in keeping him healthy and stress free in between water changes.

He also need to be a minimum of 76 degrees, but ideally more around the 78-79 mark, and also no hotter than 82. He's currently freezing and this will also cause stress and wear down his immune system. It is difficult to heat a bowl that small. 2.5 gallon+ (which is what he should be in) is much easier to keep warm and you can buy a good adjustable heater for it. You must always use an in tank thermometer like this one: the heaters tend to overheat or hot heat up enough and the temp swings are extremely hard on them. Never trust your heater. Always rely on the thermometer.

Your feeding habits are ok, but he needs one fast day a week. The high wheat content of the pellets you are using coupled with a small space he can't be very active in and cold temps lend themselves very easily to constipation issues which can become more serious with time. So watch out for this and make sure he is pooping regularly. It could help to switch him to a higher quality protein based pellet like Omega One Betta Buffet (feed the same ammount as Aqueon) or my personal Favorite New Life Spectrum Betta. Because NLS are smaller, you can feed 5-8 split up into two or even three smaller feedings. No matter what you feed they need the one fast day a week.

This is how to safely do the changes without shocking him:

To do a water change, use a little cup like a plastic solo cup - this cup must be only for him and have never been used with soap or other chems. Scoop him up in this cup (keep him in the cup about 1/4 full of water - it doesn't need to be much because he won't be in it for long) and leave him in the cup while you change his water. To do the 50% use a turkey baster - dedicated only to him that has never seen soap or chems - and drag it through the gravel and try to suck as much of the poop out as possible, in addition to 50% of the water. Use a thermometer under the running tap to get it to be the same temp as the water that is normally in his tank (in your case you say 72 degrees). When the thermometer says the flowing tap is the right temp, fill back up his tank. At this point, add the conditioner (dose for how much water you change - if you change half the water you add half gallon worth of conditioner, If you do a 100% water change dose for the full gallon change). Float his plastic cup with him in it in the new water. Slowly add a couple tablespoons of the new water into his cup every 10minutes for at least an hour. Finally, dump him in gently but try to get as little of the old cup water back into the tank as possible. When you do the weekly 100% you will do mostly the same thing except empty his tank fully and rinse everything in it very well under warm water but never use soaps or chemicals. Once it's fully cleaned/rinsed you can refill it and repeat the cup/acclimate phase.

Good luck.. let us know if you have any questions. I know this is a lot of info :) Your guy is very cute!
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:41 PM   #4 
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Hey thank you both for everything!
I'm just starting out so I don't have much, but I do plan on upgrading my tank to a bigger one with all the right equipments when I can. Willy's going to have to hold on for a bit haha.
Here is the link to a video I took.
I sat here forever trying to get a good picture, but as you can see in the video he's always swimming around.
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:55 PM   #5 
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Willy seems very happy right now :) I don't think he's sick. Just adjust some of the changes above and he should live a great life with you. I love his colors :)
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:08 PM   #6 
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Video is good, a couple things I noticed.....

When I see white globs of stuff floating around in the a tank when a fish swims, it looks dirty to me. That's why I use filters.

Also you only feed 2 pellets, but his stomach looks somewhat ENLARGED to me. I'm not familiar with Aqueon pellets though, so I'm not sure of their size.
  • Don't feed him for 48 hours & when you do resume feeding, only give him 1 pellet starting Friday for 2 weeks.
  • If you ever decide to bust out the unused filter, wrap some filter floss around the intake 2x-3x to keep any of his fins from getting caught in it.

If anyone disagrees with the stomach size, let me know. To me it looks BIG.
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:14 PM   #7 
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I agree the water looks dirty, but that's why I suggested increased water changes as outlined above. Those water changes should take care of those yuky bits, but I agree definitely needs to be addressed.

I agree his belly is a little round but it could be he just recently got fed, and I also suggested he get a fast day a week in my original post, that he needs to be warmed up and suggested if possible to move to a different pellet that's not wheat based. I think if all of those things are addressed he'll be okay. I don't think it's anything serious at this point. No fast days, cold and wheat based pellets are probably all contributing to the little belly.
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:17 PM   #8 
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Location: Mascoutah, Illinois.
The little black spots are common in yellow, and orange bettas. Nothing to worry about there.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:13 PM   #9 
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I appreciate all the replies!
I'll make sure to take appropriate measure to keep my fish happy.
And the water's clean now!
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:15 PM   #10 
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I just wanted to let you all know he's doing FANTASTIC now! :)
He started flaring so I wanted to take a picture, but he's shy and runs away haha
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