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Old 12-27-2012, 03:37 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
My betta needs some serious help!!

I could really use your guys' help. My Betta (Charlie) has been gradually getting a lot worse. I've spent lots of time and quite a bit of money on medications but nothing seems to work and he just ends up getting something different or getting worse. I'd really like to save him but I hate to see him suffer so much as it seems like he is. If anyone could help me it would be really appreciated!

Here are some pictures: - When the fin FIRST started rotting off - Before the top fin fully came off and he stopped swimming around - Full body - What he looks like now - Closeup of bad eye and the spot under his mouth

What size is your tank? 10 Gallon
What temperature is your tank? 80 degrees
Does your tank have a filter? Topfin Power Filter 10
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? Currently 2 Neon Tetras, there were 3 ghost shrimp but they are all gone now, however they were in the tank for quite a few months. I also had glo-fish before the tetras, none of which lasted at all (will definitely never buy those again..).

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqueon Betta Food, and he's started nibbling at the Tetras food which is the API tropical premium flakes
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once or twice a day

How often do you perform a water change? Every couple days, with his appearance every day or so.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25% normally.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Tetra's Betta Safe and API's aquarium salt (the salt is added quite often, even if I dont change water I'll still add some)

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

Ammonia: Fine
Nitrite: Extremely high (I'm not sure how to fix this other than change the water more? Any suggestions here?)
Nitrate: Fine
pH: Fine
Hardness: Hard (I've been told to add the Aquarium salt to fix this but every time I test it, its always the same)
Alkalinity: Fine

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? It all started when my betta's top fin started rotting away, I bought API TC Tetracycline to try and help with that but it didnt seem to do much, I followed the dosing instructions exactly and the fin kept rotting and he eventually got a white patch (not cottony at all but the scales turned white as you'll see in pictures) around the entire top fin area on both sides. The top fin got smaller and smaller until it was just a sliver and the white area got bigger. I then got Melafix to try and treat it but it didnt seem to help at all either. I even tried to treat with Rid-ich plus thinking maybe that was it because he liked to sit at the bottom but that didnt help. I've also gone through Maracyn but to no avail. Now my betta has completely lost his top fin, still has the white area where the fin used to be, has developed pop-eye on one eye, and has a white spot on the botton of his head below his mouth and on his back fin.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Over the past couple of weeks he's slowly started just laying on the bottom of the tank, not going up for food or anything.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Started a couple months back with the fin, then gradually went downhill until this past week or so.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? API TC Tetracycline, Melafix, Rid-ich Plus, Maracyn, and Aquarium salt.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Over the past couple of months, yes.
How old is your fish (approximately)? 1 year, 8 months
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Old 12-27-2012, 04:36 AM   #2 
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Shangdong, China
Oh my...
I am not sure what that is
There is something that will cause a cauliflower like thing to grow - not sure of the exact spelling - lympois? something like that. However, I am not sure if it will also rot the fins away like that.

tetracycline is kinda useless if you have hard water and its supposedly ineffective if mixed with salt or so i have heard. not sure if its true or not. But it has been overused in the past so its not as effective. Ditto for maracyn, except I think that one is not as effective in soft water.

I would PM oldfishlady or sakura8 ASAP

also - I have never heard of AQ salt lowering water hardness. its best to leave the PH and hardness alone - bettas will adapt to whatever it is. However, if you have other species - they might be more sensitive to it. Mopani wood and indian almond leaf will lower the PH but they will also turn the water amber colored.
and if you have high reading of ANYTHING - you should do a water change. nitrite can be just as deadly as ammonia if the level is high enough. Prime supposedly can reduce the level but not sure how, exactly, that works. It's easiest to just do 50% water changes. More if need to.

Last edited by Tikibirds; 12-27-2012 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:26 AM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Poor guy is in pretty bad shape...

I don't use or recommend antibiotics, however, I am not critical of those that do...its a personal choice...If you want to use antibiotic I would contact Sakura the other mod.

A natural treatment I would recommend-stop all antibiotics-place him in QT and cover it with plastic veggie wrap-attach it to the side of the heated tank to maintain temp of 76-77F for treatment.

Premix some treatment water in a 1gal jug of dechlorinated water-Add Epsom salt 3tsp/gal(Not aquarium salt) and a tannin source-either IAL(1lrg crushed/gal) or naturally dried Oak leaf (20 crushed/gal) Let this steep for 30min...Shake well before use...

Using this premixed treatment water-make 25% water changes every 15min for 1 hour today.
He needs to stay in the covered QT in this treatment water for the duration of the treatment period of 14 days.

Tomorrow-using the premixed treatment water-make 50% daily water changes.
If you used a tannin source-the water should look darker every day in the 1gal jug and this is what you want

Nutrition-If you have access to live mosquito larva-offer several rinsed a couple of time a day-otherwise, good quality varied diet in small frequent meals....

Good luck and keep us posted....
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Old 12-27-2012, 10:41 AM   #4 
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Personally, I don't use antibiotics as a first stop, but anytime you see rot that reaches the body I don't hesitate. Especially since you've already tried several antibiotics that this simply turned its nose up at.. this is aggressive imho. If you want to try natural OFL is the queen and that's the way to go. If you want something more aggressive get Kanaplex by Seachem NOW or Maracyn Plus, and as a last stop Furan 2 if you can't find the other two. I would also use epsom salts in addition to the meds at 1 tsp per gallon predissolved. Add the epsom salts to his water slowly over the course of an hour or two to get him used to it. This must be pure and no additives - check the ingredients label for pure magnesium sulfate. It can be found at any pharmacy. The Meds you can just administer directly (diluted for the size of container he will be in). Call every store in the or your phone book within a 2 mile radius and drive. I would not mess around with something that has gotten that advanced.. good luck! Let us know how he does.

I see from your description that your tank is not cycled. If you don't monitor ammonia and nitrites daily and make water changes any time you see either hit as much as .5ppm (ideally more like .25ppm) your guy can get quite sick. Fish can even die if you don't monitor your cycling close enough. I think this is what has happened.

At this point get him out of that water and into totally clean water. (for the Tetras who are staying in your 10 gallon and working on your cycle you are going to need some BIG water changes.. possibly 2 or 3 big water changes over the next week to get nitrites down or they will not survive) You can keep him warm by floating in the heated tank or by getting a reliable heater for the smaller one. Acclimate to the new water very slowly by cupping and giving a few tablespoons every 10 minutes over an hour or two and then when you move him to the hospital tank. From there you can treat with the antibiotics and frequent water changes.. depending on the size depends on how often you should change his water but I would be doing at least a partial change every other day along with the redosing of meds, if not a full 100% change.

Last edited by callistra; 12-27-2012 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 12-27-2012, 04:19 PM   #5 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Elk Grove, California
Hi kittenwarrior and welcome to the forum. I'm so sorry about Charlie. :(

If you choose to go the antibiotic route, which at this point I would suggest because of the severity of his rot, then look for Seachem Kanaplex. This is a hard to find med, though, and you may need to order online or look in small local tropical fish stores for it. If you cannot find it or don't have the time, then my next suggestion is API Triple Sulfa, which can be found at Petsmart. However, do not use this if you are allergic to sulfa medications. Instead, use API Furan-2.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:14 AM   #6 
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Thank you guys so much for all your suggestions. I'm not incredibly familiar with natural treatments and am not sure where I would get those items.

I'm already in the process of changing out a lot of the water and will continue to do so to keep it clean and get the nitrite levels down. I'm going to buy some epsom salts and will be getting the API Triple Sulfa to start on those tomorrow. I am going to order some of those other medications online (amazon 2 day shipping yay!) but want to have something already started so I can see if it will work. I don't really have a quarantine tank and have been medicating my main tank to ensure that my other fish dont get sick but if you guys think I should get a separate one is there a size or kit you would recommend to get? I'm in a small apartment so I dont have much room for another tank but could probably fit a small one somewhere.
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:44 AM   #7 
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The reason you should treat in a separate tank is most antibiotics, most certainly the one you chose, are going to completely crash your cycle and kill off a lot of you bb supply along with the bad bacteria that caused this. You'll have to start all over with it pretty much. Also because the water has not been monitored closely while cycling, it's better to start with clean fresh water during treatment. The currently incycling water is really not deal to try to treat it with a bacterial infection.

Just something you can heat is what's important. You could get a 2 gallon with a heater or you could get some 2 gallon acrylic bowl with a thermometer and float it in the main tank to keep it warm. To get the initial temperature of the water right, run the tap with the thermometer under it until the water matches his tank and then fill it with that water. You may still be off by a degree or two but that should be all. That along with proper cupping style acclimation should avoid shock.

I also noticed this just now:
Hardness: Hard (I've been told to add the Aquarium salt to fix this but every time I test it, its always the same)
Don't add aquarium salt to your water. AQ can only be used up to about 2 weeks time, after which you risk harming your fish. If you use AQ when your fish aren't sick the bacteria will run resistant to salt and it will make it even harder to treat.
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