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Old 03-15-2013, 09:31 PM   #1 
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Question Fungus or what?

So my betta has been struggling with some weird issues for the past month or so. It started off with a random spot on one of his fins, turned into some fuzz (which I thought I got rid of), and just recently it has begun to eat away at his fins. I notice it at the ends of fins eating its way up (pretty slowly) or at the middle of the fin, eating away there. He's a little crowntail, and the white fuzz only seems to be effecting his anal fins.

I'm currently treating him for a fungal/bacteria infection (Jungle's Fungus Clear), since I
've a small piece of fin at the bottom of the tank. But now I'm not sure if it is fungus or not, because pretty much everything I've read on fungal infections mentions fungus on the body, and he has none.

So then I tried to see if it was really just fin rot, but most of what I read on that doesn't mention fuzz eating the fins, only blackened edges and stuff.

So now I'm confused on how I should be treating him, and what he's got.
Any advice, guys?


What size is your tank? 3 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 76 F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? Yes
Is your tank heated? Yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? Only a pretty pathetic Argentine Sword.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? HBH Betta Bites
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice a day, two pellets per feeding. He's fasted on Sundays.


How often do you perform a water change? Once a week.
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? Prime Water Conditioner, Epsom Salt, and occasionally Tetra Flora Pride

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

Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: ?
pH: ?
Hardness: ?
Alkalinity: ?
(I have a liquid test kit for Ammonia and Nitrite)
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? White fuzz on anal fins, fins being eaten away at.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Hasn't changed hardly at all. He might be having more "freak outs" (where he just kinda breathes, and tips to the side slightly), but it's kind of hard to tell. But other than that, still swimming around and eating fine.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? On and off for a while now.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
The first time I tried to get rid of his fin fuzz, I floated him in a heated QT tank (50% water changes every day). His water was treated with a tannin source, the water conditioner, and aquarium salt. He was in there for the maximum 10 days for AQ salt. Took him back out, seemed the fuzzies had gone away. But over the past week they've returned. I hoped with some clean water they would go away again, but it hasn't seemed to help. He's now floating in his tank (again), in some Jungle Fungus Clear and Prime-treated water.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? He had some minor fin rot when I got him. They grew back beautifully, but then this problem happened. He's also had some chronic swim bladder issues (hence why I usually treat his water with Epsom salt).
How old is your fish (approximately)? Roughly a year or two (he was a Walmart fish; I adopted him back in October).

Last edited by PrincessSeyshells; 03-15-2013 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:13 PM   #2 
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Melting plants can cause ammonia spikes.. if your sword is dying remove it..

Sounds like maybe columnaris. This is an opportunistic infection from fish stress, so I will key in on building his immune system and eliminating possible stress points.

What you are using may work for columnaris, but I would treat a full 2 weeks to be sure. If it doesn't work you can look for Kanaplex

The 50% changes the betta can be kept in the tank and use a turkey baster or small siphon to remove half the water and as much of the debris as possible. If you remove your betta, scoop him out with a cup, don't net him. Then he should be acclimated to the new water by floating for an hour while you slowly add a couple tablespoons of new water to the cup every 10 minutes. When you release him, try to let as little of the old cup water back into the tank as possible. Whether you remove or not, All water changes should use same temp water, matched to running tap using the in tank thermometer and the water needs to be premixed with conditioner before adding it to the betta tank. If you don't already have anything, you can use gallon water jugs from the grocery store - rinsed thoroughly in hot water but no chems.

Your pellets aren't the greatest, and that could be why he's prone to constipation. You should look for a good quality pellets whose first two or three ingredients are whole fish, not fish meal or wheat. He should be fed two small meals a day (how many depends on the pellet you pick up) and one fast day a week.

I would also be looking for vitachem and/or garlic guard to boost his immune system. The pellets can be soaked for a few minutes in the garlic guard and a few drops of vitachem, and the vitachem can also be added to the tank at 1 drop per gallon.

Finally, bumping his temp up a couple of degrees will help with his immune system and constipation issues, but don't do it while you are treating columnaris.. it thrives at warmer temps, especially 80F+ and you don't want to jump start the infection.

I do have one other concern.. Most filters designed for these small tanks also have fatal flaws that will not allow the biofilter to establish in them as well. You should never replace all filter media at once. You should only replace one type of filter media within a month, and the best filters have 3 different types of media. However, most of these small only contain one type of media that needs to be replaced monthly due to it containing carbon. Every time you replace all the media at once you wipe out most of your biofiler and basically start your cycle over again. What filter do you have and how are you maintaining it?
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:27 PM   #3 
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Thanks for your reply! Glad to know the treatment I'm currently doing on him is okay to try. I've had the argentine sword for a while and I know it's definitely not supposed to look like it does, but it still has survived since I got it...should I go ahead and throw it out anyway?

I've tried to get the best kind of pellets I can for the little guy, mostly because of the situation I'm in, I only have access to Walmart and Hyvee to go shopping for supplies. Walmart has none of the really good stuff or any higher end treatment for columnaris, so I'll have to order some off the internet and hope he can last that long, if that's what it is.

The tank came with one of the small whisper filters. It has a buffer over it (made out of a plastic bottle) so it doesn't create a current. I will admit I haven't been the best about maintaining it, but it has been changed recently (as in the past few weeks) because the other one was so nasty. When I do a water change, I usually run it under the tap to kind of rinse it off. I also rinse off new ones, and have probably changed his filter about three/four times since I got him. What I usually do for his water changes is after I finish one, I fill up a big jug and treat it so it can get to room temp by the next change.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:49 AM   #4 
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I would order New Life Spectrum Betta online then. Sorry you don't have a good LFS :( I think I'm spoiled.

Just make sure when you treat with the meds you are wet-dilluting (if you don't know how to do this let me know) and mixing up fresh daily.

Do you have the whisper internal or do you have the hob filter with the long intake tube?

You should never rinse your filter out under the tap. You are killing off all your good bacteria and restarting your cycle every time. The filter media itself should only be swished in bucket of old tank water after a water changed. You should never replace more than one type of media (filter cartridge) within a month of each other or you also cause the cycle to break down. I think this is your problem.

If you have this type of filter: It's not good. It lacks surface area for good bacteria to grow and I believe it does not have more than one type of filter cartridge, correct? It will need to be highly modified if this is what you have

If you have this one: It's okay. It needs to be prefiltered (cylindrical sponge over intake tube) and probably sponge baffled over the outflow. I would not put a bottle baffle as many a betta have been injured and killed on the sharp edges.
The bio bag filter only needs to be replaced once a year. Just swish it in the bucket of old tank water with your changes. The sponge is the same. The bag of carbon is optional. If you do run carbon it needs to be replaced once a month. If you don't you can replace it with an additional sponge, which is what I personally suggest. Only replace one type of a media within a month time's span and your cycle should always be strong.

Last edited by callistra; 03-16-2013 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:21 PM   #5 
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Well, to prepare his medication I dissolved a tablet in 3L of water (treated with conditioner but nothing else). The tablet treats 10 gallons, so then I calculated how much of that water I would need to treat 1 gallon of water (300 mL) and I put that into a 1 gallon container and filled it up with conditioned water. Then I poured that into his little cup. He seems fine this morning, but if I measured out the medication wrong, I definitely will be re-doing it.

Thanks for all the filter advice. Yeah, my filter's more like the first one:

ONly one filter medium--the carbon part. I'll have to see if I have the money (and room in the tank) to upgrade for him. If my parents don't mind, I might use some of my savings to move him to a 5-gallon with much better plants (I did last-minute research for the last plants I got last time and ended up getting a non-aquatic plant, and this Argentine sword, which I don't really have a special spectrum light for) and a sponge filter.
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:32 PM   #6 
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3L is under a gallon.. it's closest to 8/10 gallon.. so you could do the math but it's not a very simple straight forward conversion, and unless you're measuring in a ml syringe you're not getting an accurate dose.

IMHO, a much easier way is to just dissolve the tablet in 10 parts of something.. 10 cups, 10 tablespoons etc. Then take 1 part (cups or tablespoons into the 1g container and dose from there. You could also do 5 parts of something and take 1/2 part into the 1g. You'll have to mix this up fresh daily and not save the mixture because every time it.

Until you can upgrade I'd go ahead and do a 50% change mid week 100% change weekly, but I wouldn't rinse or disturb the gravel, except to siphon it.. so the 100% will really be a 99.9%
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