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Old 07-29-2013, 12:02 AM   #1 
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Fish is sick, help


Until recently I never knew one could get so attached to a fish. I've had Jupiter for about a year and a half and I'm very attached to the little guy. Over the last few weeks he has started acting very strange. He started being lethargic, mainly hanging out in one corner of his tank, and when he does move he darts about frantically. This was about a week and a half ago. He had nothing on his body so I thought it was swim bladder problem or constipation. So I stopped feeding him for two days. But when I started again he still wouldn't eat.

I recently noticed a white/gray "cloudiness" around his face and one side of his jaw is slightly enlarged. It is not fuzzy, or stringy. He doesn't have spots like Ick. He sometimes looks as if he is breathing heavily and his gills are slightly sticking out.

I do not have water testing equipment, but I am going to get some tomorrow.
I can't tell if this is bacterial or fungal. I don't think it is a parasite as he has only had beta bio gold until 4 days ago when the lady at the petstore told me to try freeze dried bloodworms to stimulate his appetite. He didn't eat it so I removed it from the tank.
His fins seem fine, doesn't look like fin rot.

I have to admit I had him in a pretty small tank. No filter or heater and 50% water changes about 1x week. Hopefully I can nurse him back to health and transfer him to a nice, cycled, heated, filtered and spacious home. But I don't want to risk infecting a tank and then getting other fish sick in the future if he is really sick :( I had no idea he needed all of that, but I have spent the last few days learning as much as I can. But the more I read the more I'm scared to try any treatment for fear I could be treating the wrong illness.

As a start I have put him in isolation, 100% water change with treated tap water ( API stress coat+) , and aquarium salt.

Please help me figure out what is wrong so that I can proceed with the best course of treatment for him!

I have attached some pictures.

Thank you all so much for any help
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Last edited by Jupiter83; 07-29-2013 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:10 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Queensland, Australia
Hey there so sorry to hear about the trouble that you are having with your boy, yes it is very easy to become attached to these little fish with such a huge personality. I now have 23 bettas and love each one individually.

In regards to your boy I cannot see a lot physically wrong with him though as you mention his gill area is slightly swollen. Can you get a side on photo of the whole fish? might help with diagnosis.

At this point I am thinking something parasitic or bacterial. Some parasites are actually microscopic and near impossible to see with the naked eye. Flukes in particular may not be visible but commonly affect the gills causing swelling/inflammation of the area. The cloudiness that you are seeing may simply be a build up of slime coat which is the fishes body using it's natural defence mechanism to try to protect itself from the parasites penetrating the body. Prazi may be useful for treating flukes otherwise most other external parasites can be treated with a combo of malachite green and formaldehyde which I have found to be very effective, also mardels coppersafe is a good option.

On the other hand we have bacterial slime disease which appears as a white film partially or fully covering the fish and may cause risen areas. Regular water changes are the key and treatment using a good antibacterial medication such as Tri-sulfa may help.

Hope that is of some help, more photos may help with further diagnosis
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:46 AM   #3 
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More info

Thanks veggiegirl.

I'll try to get better pics.

The white dot on the way bottom on the right side of the picture is new as of a day. It looks like it could be a small lesion. It's hard to see because he swims away as soon as I try to get a good look.
But the lighter white patches you can see around his mouth are not how he usually looks. It also seems that he can't close his mouth, it's swollen in the position you see in the pics. He was hanging in the corner straight up and down with just his mouth at the top of the water. Now that I moved him to a new glass container, and added the salt and stress aid, he seems to be doing a little better. But that also could be that the temporary container is shallow so he can't hang down. His face is swelling more each day, and that white almost flaky slimy stuff is spreading down underneath his chin towards his gills. It looks like somewhat like the pics of mycobacterium. But I really hope that's not it. Could he have gotten a parasite even if he's never had live or frozen food?
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Last edited by Jupiter83; 07-29-2013 at 01:47 AM. Reason: Ok the picture got flipped for some reason, so the spot I'm referring to is on the left now.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:01 AM   #4 
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Even though you've given us a lot of information, filling out the sticky third from the top will really help. Also, a "before" photo if you have one.

Welcome to the Forum. Sorry poor Jupiter is sick.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:30 AM   #5 
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Answers to Sticky questions. Mycos??

What size is your tank? very small, 1/2 gallon. It's one of those half bubble ones that you can hang on the wall.
What temperature is your tank? n/a our house is about 75F he is away from any drafts
Does your tank have a filter? no
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?no

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Betta Bio gold
How often do you feed your betta fish?2-3 pellets 1-2 times a day. Sometimes he would eat 5-6 at a time

How often do you perform a water change? 1x 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? I wasn't adding anything. I used filtered water that had sat out overnight. Now I use filtered water with API stress coat and 1/2tsp API aquarium salt/gal

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
N/A to all

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? he is turning dark/losing his shimmer. (in one of the pictures you can see he has one spot of turquoise left on his lip then the top is dark) Started near mouth and is progressing to top of head and underneath. His gills seem clumped and stick out slightly. Mouth and left side of jaw/cheek is swollen. Light transparent grey/white patches around his facial area. AND I added the picture of my index finger. I had a little bump on my thumb just like that. It was sore for a few days then went away. Then about 3 days ago I got a similar one on index finger. I could just be overreacting, but he does match up with some of the discription of Mycos/TB.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He is not eating. I have not seen him eat in over a week. He sits in one corner at top of tank. Darts up and out frantically. Heavy breathing. Was hanging vertically with mouth out of water. Doesn't seem to be doing that anymore.

When did you start noticing the symptoms? about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Just behavior changes the darting and hanging in the corner. Physical about 5 days

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Removed from tank. 100% water changes last 4 days with the API Stress aid 1ml/gal and salt 1/2tsp/gal

Does your fish have any history of being ill? NO. He used to be happy, built bubble nest. Would chase food on my finger around and jump up to eat it. Would flare up when I put my face up to the tank ( I hope that wasn't stressing him out, I only did it every once in a while)

How old is your fish (approximately)? 1 1/2-2 years
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:49 PM   #6 
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Location: Queensland, Australia
Okay well his living conditions have been less than ideal, a single betta should really have a 2.5 gallon tank and they are tropical fish that do require heaters. You asked whether it is possible for a betta to catch parasites even if they have never had frozen or live food and the answer is yes. You see parasites are always present in water however they only usually affect a fish if it's immune system becomes compromised. In the case of your boy his immune system will likely have been very low as a result of living in poor water conditions which in turn cause the fish to become stressed and as a result their immune system becomes compromised giving an opportunity for the parasites to invade.

A 1/2 gallon tank really needs 100% daily water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite levels in a safe zone. Also 80F degrees is a much more ideal temperature for a betta. Low temperatures as well as fluctuations in temperatures are both very stressful to your fish. In order to prevent further occurrences of such illnesses living conditions really do need to be improved which would include buying him a larger tank and providing suitable heating.

By the way I just want to point out that the above info is by no means me having a go at you about how you look after your betta. You sound like you care about him a lot which means that you are very caring person, there is a lot of controversial info out there on betta care and mistakes are commonly make through being given false info on the care requirements of these fish, most of us started out making these mistakes but learning from them is the important thing.

Looking at your boy I cannot be certain as to whether his problem is parasitic or bacterial but at an educated guess I would say treat for bacterial. My advice would be to treat with something like tri-sulfa which not only covers a broad range of bacterial ailments but also some parasites as well. Keep his water nice and clean (which it sounds as though you are now doing anyway) and keep him as warm as possible even if this means wrapping his tank with towels/blankets at night to help with insulation until you are able to get him a heater. At this point a heater is even more important than a larger tank providing that you are doing sufficient water changes. A heater will not only help to prevent this from happening again but it will go a long way to aiding his recovery. I really do wish you the best of luck in helping your boy to recover, please keep us updated as to how he is going
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