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Old 05-15-2013, 10:15 PM   #1 
petespinning
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Sharkbait is sick!

Hello all,

My wife and I were given a betta fish about 6 or 7 months ago. We named him Sharkbait. He is very colorful, so I THINK it is a male. If anyone can clarify, please do. Anyway, Sharkbait was a VERY active betta. He would follow your finger around, and swim along with it, etc. Always swimming around the tank, flaring his gills (which I have read is healthy), and dare I say friendly towards onlookers. Almost human at times. We moved him from his 1 1/2 gallon flower vase (which he was given to us in) into a 5 gallon tank. We got him plants, a pirate head, a bubble volcano, a filter, a heater (which was in the old tank), so it is quite an entertaining tank for a fish. However, I will note that he wasn't quite as friendly after the move, but still healthy, and seemed to be in his own new world, rather than focused on us. I think maybe because the inside of the glass might be reflective, so he can't see us very well? Still active, though. Anyway, I digress.

We were changing the tank water about every ten to twelve days, and it was filtered, so it never seemed to be a problem. Sharkbait was happy & active. We live in California and it was winter. We went away on a long weekend, and came back, and it suddenly had been really hot out of nowhere! We noticed that the tank had gotten a little murky, even though we had recently changed it. Our betta LOVES to swim underneath the water dump from the filter... he would shimmy in it... and when I took the filter out when I cleaned the tank, it had some green algae marks on it. A couple of days later my fish started hiding. We didn't put two & two together for a minute, but then he developed pop-eye, almost overnight! We were devastated, and felt really guilty! So we went to Petsmart, and got some "API E.M. Erythromycin", and "API Melafix". The gentlemen at the store said it would fix the pop-eye. We applied it as directed, took the filter out, and changed the water as directed. The pop-eye went down, and he developed (what looked like) an abscess underneath his eye. We got a little scared, but that went away too. After we were sure it was gone, we stopped medicating him, and changed the water out completely. We put a brand new filter in, and waited to see how he would do. He was still hiding, so we gave him a few days to recover, thinking he had been through a lot.

Well, he hasn't recovered. His eye is better, as I have read he might have gone blind in that eye. But, he seems to be reacting on that side, and the eye isn't milky... It looks pretty healthy. However, he is showing symptoms of some kind of sickness still! I have read up on it A LOT, and I can't pinpoint it. We are now using conditioner, and recently did a light cycle of betta fix to see if that would help (which I have read might be bad now.. which makes me frustrated, as it was recommended at the store). All the time we keep changing the water, and the water is pretty much beautiful!

Well, recently he has developed these white spots on both sides of the gills. They aren't fuzzy, and seem flat. There is no mucus coat on him, nor does he seem "sprinkled in gold dust" as I have read with some diseases affiliated with the gills. He is lethargic, hides inside the pirate head all day & night, only comes out to eat (if at all), doesn't spread his fins anymore, doesn't flare his gills, breathes rapidly... he lays down at the bottom of the tank, or in small crevices & dark protected areas. He doesn't seem to have any fin rot, but he just doesn't flare his fins (clumped). He doesn't have any sores.. in fact, other than the mysterious white spots, and heavy breathing, I would say he looks fairly healthy.. just depressed. We bought him a mystery snail & a tiny frog, as we read he may just want company, but he doesn't really notice them. The only other real noticeable symptoms are that he seems discolored.. but, not in patches, just in general. Also, his gills seem to be open wide.

When he comes out of hiding to eat, or for air, he will sometimes DART to the top, and then hide again. Other times he will come out, and eat all of his food swim around a little, and then hide again. The behavior and symptoms seem so eratic, I am scared to medicate him any further, in case it's the wrong type of medicine. I have been careful medicating him, but I feel like it is almost too much.. but he doesn't get better if I do nothing either. I'm totally puzzled, and he seems to have one symptom of every disease I read about, but not all. The only one that seems right on is TB, but from what I have read, that is pretty rare. It's so frustrating. I just want him to get better, and not keep dumping money into the wrong medications, and treatments. He is turning into one expensive little fish, but I still Love him, and want him to survive, as a fish owner. Here is a caption I read about TB that makes me think he has it, but for every diagnosis I read that seems correct, there is something I read that disputes it. Check out this, and the pics, and what I have told you about his behavior, and let me know if you have any suggestions. I would really appreciate it.

Tuberculosis

Yes folks this is Tuberculosis and it can be transferred to humans if you have open wounds. My advice, put on some long gloves that covers up 3/4 of you arms before handling the Betta Fish or water. Let's look at the symptons. Loss of appetite, cloudy or popeye eyes, colors have faded, clamped fins, seclusion and rapid breathing. This is a difficult disease to diagnose since it has a lot of the same symptoms as other diseases.


Here are some pictures showing his gills w/ white spots (which are on both sides, and showed up after the pop-eye got better), and a picture of him hiding under a plant (which is a rare time he makes an appearance), and also a frontal shot. Sorry if the pictures aren't great, but it is really hard to even get a picture before he swims off and hides. It took me three days to accumulate these, if that says anything = /
















All I know is that this fish used to look majestic, and flare his gills up, swim around like he owned the place, was SUPER bright, and spread his fins like a peacock.. and didn't have white spots on his gills. Now, he is a bottom dweller, who rarely comes out at all. Sad.

Thanks for any suggestions.

Pete
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:22 PM   #2 
MattsBettas
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Housing
What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

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

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?

Note that this should not be identified as tuberculosis, but rather mycobacterium. Myco (fish tb) is not as serious in humans but still contagious to us. I am currently dealing with something that very well could be myco (the only way to identify it is a lab test). I don't know if this is myco, but if it is, I would stop treatment. It is not curable and the fish ends up dying. Meds will only add stress. The form will help us a lot.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:36 PM   #3 
petespinning
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Housing
What size is your tank? 5 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 78 mostly. 82 at times
Does your tank have a filter? yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No stone / Bubble Volcano
Is your tank heated? Yes, it has a plug in disc heater
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None until this week. Bought a mystery snail, and a tiny frog... the frog hides more than the fish.

Food
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Loves Hikari Betta Bio-Gold. Tried other stuff, wont eat it.
How often do you feed your betta fish? Twice. Once at 7am, once at 4:30

Maintenance
How often do you perform a water change? Used to do 10-12 days. Now 7 days.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Kordon NovAqua water conditioner.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? No, I haven't. Not sure how to go about it. Still new to fish care, and never knew I had to, unfortunately.

Ammonia:
Nitrite:
Nitrate:
pH:
Hardness:
Alkalinity:

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? White (not fuzzy) spots on gills, droopy fins, rapid breathing, pale color.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Hides in dark places. Only stays around the bottom of tank under plants, and sometimes lays down on rocks, or up against plants, rocks, or decorations. Swims erratically to the top occasionally for food or air. Very non-active. Sometimes eats plenty, sometimes just a little, but always hides within ten minutes after eating.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? about a month and a half ago, when he got pop-eye, but behavior continued after pop-eye went away.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, I treated the pop-eye with "API E.M. Erythromycin", and "API Melafix". Since then, a light cycle of "API Betta Fix", then changed water as instructed.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not before the pop-eye.
How old is your fish (approximately)? 6-7 months.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:45 AM   #4 
LittleBlueFishlets
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Hi, I'm sorry your fish is not feeling well!

Fish do not get "Tuberculosis." They are, however, affected by several other strains of Mycobacteria. These strains can cause some nasty infections in humans, but cannot cause "Tuberculosis." This is an excellent article about Mycobacterial infection in fish.

There is a lot of controversy about using medications that end with "-fix" in bettas (Melafix, Bettafix, etc.) All contains oils, and it's possible that these oils can coat the labryinth, making it difficult for Bettas to breathe. Personally, until more information is known, I avoid these medications.

Erythromycin is a good gram positive antibiotic. However, most fish illnesses are caused by gram negative bacteria. So this may not be the appropriate antibiotic to use.

Generally, I just recommend Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) for pop-eye. It's safer to use than many medications, and seems to work well for this condtion.

I see the white discoloration on his face. However, I don't know what it is. Hopefully, someone will be able to diagnose it.

The droopy fins, rapid breathing, pale color, and hiding may just indicate that he's stressed and not feeling well.

Now that you have a snail, a frog and a Betta in the tank, you may want to invest in a water testing kit. I recommend the API Freshwater Master Kit. It's available in most pet stores, but it's usually less expensive at Amazon. This will allow you to test for ammonia, nitrates, nitrites and pH. Water can look crystal clear, but there's no way of looking at it and knowing whether the parameters are safe or not....

I hope that your fish is feeling better soon!
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:10 PM   #5 
petespinning
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Thank you

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBlueFishlets View Post
Hi, I'm sorry your fish is not feeling well!

- Fish do not get "Tuberculosis." They are, however, affected by several other strains of Mycobacteria. These strains can cause some nasty infections in humans, but cannot cause "Tuberculosis." This is an excellent article about Mycobacterial infection in fish.

Thank you! I will read when I get home.

- There is a lot of controversy about using medications that end with "-fix" in bettas (Melafix, Bettafix, etc.) All contains oils, and it's possible that these oils can coat the labryinth, making it difficult for Bettas to breathe. Personally, until more information is known, I avoid these medications.

Thanks, I had also read that, and have discontinued usage.

- Erythromycin is a good gram positive antibiotic. However, most fish illnesses are caused by gram negative bacteria. So this may not be the appropriate antibiotic to use. Generally, I just recommend Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) for pop-eye. It's safer to use than many medications, and seems to work well for this condtion.

- Well, the pop-eye went away, so I will use the salt if I run into it again. Is using the salts be something I should be doing anyway? Or, only if I encounter pop-eye?

- I see the white discoloration on his face. However, I don't know what it is. Hopefully, someone will be able to diagnose it.

Mee too! I have had a lot of people say "it isn't this", or "it isn't that", but nobody seems to know what I am dealing with, so I can't medicate him appropriately.

- The droopy fins, rapid breathing, pale color, and hiding may just indicate that he's stressed and not feeling well.

I thought that too... but I have been leaving him alone, despite adding the snail & frog this week, and he still hasn't recovered.. and it's been a while. Breaks my heart =[

- Now that you have a snail, a frog and a Betta in the tank, you may want to invest in a water testing kit. I recommend the API Freshwater Master Kit. It's available in most pet stores, but it's usually less expensive at Amazon. This will allow you to test for ammonia, nitrates, nitrites and pH. Water can look crystal clear, but there's no way of looking at it and knowing whether the parameters are safe or not....

This is my next step. I appreciate the recommendation, and will get it on Amazon.. next day shipping!

- I hope that your fish is feeling better soon!
Thank you! I hope he can get better, and return to his spunky self... he really is a special Betta! Even other Betta owners have been surprised at his "friendliness".. hahaha!

God Bless.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:15 PM   #6 
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There are two types of salts that are mentioned frequently on this forum. However, neither should be added to the tank on a routine basis. They're only used when there's a specific problem that needs to be treated.

Aquarium salt - used for external issues. (Fin rot, minor infections, etc.) It contains sodium, which places stress on the kidneys, and can contribute to bloating and buoyancy issues. It should never be used in high dosages, or for more than about 10 days.

Epsom salt - used for internal issues. (Bloating, constipation, etc.) It's also used for popeye. It's chemical name is magnesium sulfate. It has a laxative effect (in people as well as fish). It can be used for longer periods of time, if needed. (It doesn't contain sodium, so it doesn't have the same potential issues that aquarium salt poses.)

I still don't know what's causing his lethargy or the white spots. I was hoping someone else would comment on this. (I wonder if it's ich?)
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:21 PM   #7 
petespinning
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Hey!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBlueFishlets View Post

Epsom salt - used for internal issues. (Bloating, constipation, etc.) It's also used for popeye. It's chemical name is magnesium sulfate. It has a laxative effect (in people as well as fish). It can be used for longer periods of time, if needed. (It doesn't contain sodium, so it doesn't have the same potential issues that aquarium salt poses.)hoping someone else would comment on this. (I wonder if it's ich?)
So I came home today, and the little bugger is floating around like a drunk. He may be constipated, and have SBD! I have been putting a little bit of extra pellets in the tank, as the guy at the store said that whatever floats down, the frog will eat. If epsom salt fixes internal issues, and is a laxative, then maybe it will clean him out. No wonder he is sick. I also read that you can keep the tank warm, starve him for 3 days, and feed him a quarter of a thawed frozen pea, and that peas have undigestible fiber, and will clean him out. Does that sound reasonable to you?
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:32 PM   #8 
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Actually frogs need a different food than what you feed your Betta. Generally it's not always good to trust what the people at the store say, this one is no exception unfortunately.

I'm not entirely certain the salt should be used with the frog in there, much less the snail. LBF can you verify this?

But if you have a different container you could use to float your Betta in the 5 gallon, that would be good. I use Never-Seen-Soap Plastic Ware, basically something that's new because soap is very toxic to fish.

But first I think you should definitely try to keep him off the food for a few days, either until you see him Poo or if he stays bloated then you can try the Pea.

You need to Blanch the pea, so take a bit of tank water into a microwaveable bowl, put a pea in it, cover halfway and microwave for a minute. Shell the pea, take the two halves and cut up very tiny, even a quarter will be too much for a betta. Try for a size of his eye. Spear it on a tooth pick and feed it to him, try not to stab him though lol And then we wait until he poo's

(But the above info would just be if he has Bloat/Constipation. If it's Ich then we're on a different road, although I'm personally not seeing Ich)

Oh and I just wanted to comment on your first post. Just because they are colorful does not denote a male :D Sometimes it can be very difficult to sex a Betta because they can be very confusing. Females *generally* have shorter fins and an ovipositer, it's a white spot that protrudes from behind her tummy. But young males can also have short fins and an imitator ovipositer lol so you see where this can be confusing :) But since he is older and you can clearly see he's got long fins, it's a male. But there are short finned males and none of it has to do with color (unfortunately for us haha)
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:41 PM   #9 
petespinning
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I think he is a male too. Long fins.. very long when healthy. Also, I don't think it's ick either. I have looked long and hard at him, and there is no mucus... even with a flashlight shining on him. I am waiting for my PH tester, and I am going to put him in his old one and a half gallon tank, with no rocks so I can see the poop. I'll starve him out a few days, and try the pea thing if it doesn't get better. Then I'll bring in the epsom if needed.

Thanks to everyone for being so helpful! Keep posting if you have other advice.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:49 PM   #10 
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You can do either:
(1) Fasting alone, or (2) Epsom salt and fasting or (3) Blanched pea
(I wouldn't do both Epsom salt and the pea....)

Personally, I've had really good success with the Epsom salt and fasting.... (If you try the pea, just drop a tiny bit into the tank and see if he'll eat it. I did this without the toothpick, and my betta ate it when it fell into the water.)

Epsom salt treatment:
1) Remove 1 gal of water from the 5 gallon tank.
2) Add 5 teaspoons of Epsom salt into a gallon of water. (Make sure the water is the same temp as your tank.) Add the correct amount of conditioner. Stir/shake until the salt is completely dissolved. Make sure the Epsom salt is 100% magnesium sulfate. (No dyes, perfumes or additives.)
3) Over the course of an hour, add the Epsom salt treated water to the tank.

I don't know how Epsom salt will affect snails or frogs. (I don't have either.) I do know that it will not harm plants. (In fact, Epsom salt is sometimes used as plant fertilizer.)

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 05-16-2013 at 10:01 PM.
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