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Old 03-15-2013, 11:22 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Mar 2013
What is this white stuff?


I recently found out about this site and decided to register because some white string-like stuff has been attaching to my bettas. It started less than a week ago with my crowntail when I noticed a white fuzz surrounding some of the ends of a couple of his caudal fin (like a tube). But there has been no change in behavior, he was busy building up he usual large bubble nest until I moved him to QT today. Now my other betta (also in QT) has a white string attached to his body, although he already most of it off so it doesn't seem as tightly attached. I have also noticed white stringy bits in both their waters.

Based on my limited knowledge (google) it isn't external parasites - not the right look, no behavior change and no movement of the white stuff in the water. I believe it is either fungus (but on the fin?), poop, algae, or maybe it can be blamed on their white gravel. Algae seems most likely because both bettas recently got live plants (for the first time and from the same reputable local store), but I just don't know and it is really starting to concern me. Also, I recently put driftwood in the crowntail's tank that accumulated some white algae/fuzz spots (note that the driftwood was brushed, boiled, and soaked before it went in the tank).

Housing (each betta has their own identical tank)
What size is your tank? 3 gallon (now 1 gallon QTs)
What temperature is your tank? about 80
Does your tank have a filter? yes (but today I moved them to separate QTs without)
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? none

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? freeze dried bloodworms and pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? twice a day

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? about 40 percent
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? conditioner (tetra aqua safe plus or seachem prime)

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? yes, two days ago the readings were as follows:

Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: One tank (crowntail) was almost at zero, the other was at 5 ppm
Hardness: N/A
Alkalinity: N/A

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? see above
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? No
When did you start noticing the symptoms? almost a week ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? no
Does your fish have any history of being ill? N/A
How old is your fish (approximately)? They are each about 1 year

Also, it is possible for a betta to have ragged fins but no fin rot? My second has ragged fins but I have had him for several months and he has always looked this way. Wouldn't fin rot get worse? While I am dealing with diseases I would like to rule this out as well. If I figure out how to I will post a picture.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:52 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Tetra Aquasafe Plus has some stuff that messes with ph. I would just stick to Prime. The back and forth may be altering the water chemistry and making stress.

If you click to go advanced you can attach photos.

Sounds like maybe slime coat shed actually.

How exactly do you do the water changes?

As a side note, you should feed a quality pellets whose first two or three ingredients are whole fish, not fish meal or wheat as your staple. He should be fed two small meals a day (how many depends on the pellet you pick up) and one fast day a week. Blood worms are very high in fat and very low in nutrition - like potato chips. They should be fed only as treats. I suggest feeding one once a week in replace of pellet meal. If they are frozen they need to be dethawed and fed in pellet size chunks. If they are freeze dried, it needs to be thoroughly soaked in separate cup/container with some of the tank/treated water for at least 10 minutes before feeding. If you would like to boost the immune system and add extra nutrition, you can soak in garlic guard or vitachem instead.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:37 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Mar 2013

Thank you for your reply! My crowntail is the only one having trouble with the white stuff now, and it seems to be getting a little better. Unfortunately, I can't get a good picture (partly because my crowntail is black and partly because I am using a phone camera). Both of my fish are being treated with aquarium salt and I have been doing more research. The white stuff is from the driftwood. Most sources say it is "normal" and "safe" but others associate it with saprolegnia and columnaris. The following link, a betta with saprolegnia, has fins coated just like my poor crowntail!

What is the best treatment for saprolegnia and is it (the treatment) potentially harmful to my betta? Should I keep up with the aquarium salt treatment? I will go check the sticky treads for more information but any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:49 PM   #4 
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To answer your questions:

I have switched to prime, but this mess started just before the switch so that is why I put both.

I do the water changes with a gravel vac, while my bettas are still in the tank. The water I add is pre-treated and as close to the tank temperature as possible.

The pellets are mia at the moment but I will check them and get some new ones tomorrow if needed. I soak the worms in tank water before I feed them to the bettas. I will look into garlic guard or vitachem, that is a great suggestion!

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