Hello everyone. I am a new betta owner, and I love my little guy. I've had him for two months now, and he would always be so active and happy swimming around his tank. In the very veryyy beginning I never once saw him eat his betta pellets so I bought some betta flakes instead and he ate them right away. Since I started giving him flakes I would feed him every other day with a few bloodworms. I would do a 100% water change every 2-3 weeks and never had any problems. He used to have big, bright beautiful fins but within the past two weeks I've noticed that his color has faded (his body is now more of a gray), and his fins are shorter and look 'ripped.' After doing some research and speaking with a 'fish expert' at petco, I bought some bettafix since it was assumed he has fin rot and took out his (only) plastic plant in case that was aiding in the ripping. After the second day of treatment I noticed he was a little more active, but since then his condition has only worsened. He seems to have a 'patch' on his face, isn't moving, isn't eating, breathing deeply, and his fins have only gotten shorter and more ripped! I don't know what else to do but I'm afraid I only have a matter of days left. I would greatly appreciate any help or advice I can get ASAP. I'm willing to do anything to save my pet :(
These are pictures of my betta before he got sick:
That looks like very bad fin rot. Can you fill out this sticky for us to give you more information?
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?
What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?
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?
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
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)?
First off, thank you SO much for taking the time to even respond to this thread. I greatly appreciate it. Here is the following information:
What size is your tank? 1 gallon
What temperature is your tank? not sure. he's in my room. I live upstairs in a southern California household (to give you an idea of weather. not sure if that helps though)
Does your tank have a filter? yes, but it's just a bubble filter that came with my starter tank and it's generally not turned on
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? the bubble filter
Is your tank heated? no
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? No other fish. Nothing is in the tank except for a leaf hammock and smooth marbles.
What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Started with pellets although he NEVER ate them so i switched to flakes along with his dried bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? Once every other day
How often do you perform a water change? once every 2-3 weeks, although I just did one on Friday when I applied his bettafix treatment to his water
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? de-chlorinater (I also use filtered water)
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
(haven't tested the water. haven't have any problems until these past two weeks when I noticed his health deteriorate)
Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Faded color all around, "graying" almost "dusty" body, little chunk/patch missing from head, shortening and ripping fins. Fins are also no longer "fanned out"
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Used to be really active, now no longer moves at all. Either sinks to the bottom (only goes up for air), or floats in one spot at the top of the water breathing deeply. Doesn't eat his food
When did you start noticing the symptoms? About two weeks ago
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Yes, I added bettafix to his water last week on friday
Does your fish have any history of being ill? No, he has always been extremely healthy looking since I got him (always active, eating, big fins, bright colors)
How old is your fish (approximately)? I got his two months ago in August. I don't know how old he was when I got him.
If you can suggest anything to help me, I would be so grateful. I bought him for myself on my birthday with my own money, and is my only pet. I'll do whatever I can. Thank you for your time
No problem :) I'm not an expert by any means but if I see a thread I think I can offer some advice on, I will try my best :)
Okay, first off - ditch the betta fix. I haven't heard anything positive about it, and it may actually make things worse.
Second - I definitely think he has some severe fin rot. The deterioration of his fins and the black ends show that it is fin rot. And it's most likely caused from lack of water changes. In a 1 gallon tank you should be doing 100% water changes *weekly* at the very least. If you can, a 50% change halfway through the week would also be helpful.
But for right now, until his fins get to healing up, you need to be doing minimum 50% water changes *daily*. It's a bit of work, but it's necessary to stop the rot. If you can do 100% changes daily, which I highly recommend, that would be ideal.
Third - I think this rot is a bit advanced for just water changes to clear it up, so I would recommend getting some aquarium salt. You can find it at pet stores and even at Walmart. It's usually about $3. Table salt will not work. The recommended dosage is 1 tsp/gal. So today change 100% of his water, to get the bettafix out and to give him clean water. Take a bit of water out of his tank into a separate cup, maybe half a cup, and measure out one teaspoon of aquarium salt into the cup. Stir it until it is fully dissolved. Then add small amounts back into his tank (with him in it) over the course of an hour. You don't want to shock his system with the increase in salinity :)
Do this daily for a maximum of 10 days. If you don't see improvement after about day 5, you can up the dosage of AQ salt to 2 tsp/gallon, making sure its predissolved.
As for his color fading, it may just be from less than ideal water conditions, perhaps a bit of ammonia poisoning - but he should hopefully clear up and color up with having clean water :)
He *might* end up needing an antibiotic to clear up his rot, but I like to try using conservative measures before using medicine, hence the AQ salt.
Let me know if you have any more questions, I'm glad to help out however I can :) And please keep me posted on his condition. I can tell he's your baby, and I have 8 of my own babies - so I understand your worry.
I'll second everything she said. He's a beautiful fish! He should hopefully clear up just fine, and if not, there are antibiotics that can be tried if more conservative treatment fails. In the meantime, though, keeping the tank cleaner should help. Also, he could use a heater in his tank, or at least a thermometer so you can keep an eye on the temperature and adjust the water (gradually!) as needed. Thermometers are cheap- about $2, and you can also find relatively inexpensive heaters for a tank that size. Bettas are tropical fish, and like to have their temperature around 78 degrees. Also, depending on what you can afford, you may want to get him a bigger tank at some point. Bigger tanks are easier to maintain temperature-wise, as well as ammonia. They still need to be cleaned, of course, but not quite as often as a 1 gallon. Good luck with him!
Thanks again for all the help. I just want to give him proper care and get him help as soon as possible; I hate to see him suffering like this....
The man at the pet store advised bettafix but now after doing some research online I believe your right. It seems as though it can make the problem worse, which is what seems to have happened (that or his condition just got worse regardless....or both). I'll clean out his water to rid it of the bettafix as soon as I get home (I'm at school right now).
I had no idea that his water needed to be changed so frequently. My mom always told me that they like their water a little on the dirty side, and multiple people at the pet stores told me to only change about 20%-30% of the water at a time. I guess they didn't realize that it's only a 1 gallon tank. My only concern with changing 100% of his water so frequently is the stress I think he gets whenever I take him out of his tank each time. Could that be part of the problem?
I looked at some cures for betta tail rot online and a lot of people recommend maracyn-2, although there are always mixed reviews just like with the bettafix. I ordered it yesterday and paid for the next day shipping so I should receive it today. Do you think this would help him? I'm not sure if I'll have time to pick up some of the aquarium salts. Would you recommend it?
I know you're not a "Fish Doctor" or anything (although you have already helped me ALOT), but honestly, how long do you think I have to help save him? Once a fish gets tail rot and progressively gets worse, how much time on average would you say he has to get better? And if he does get better, will he ever get his long, full fins back?
My biggest concern is the fact that I will be leaving this Friday and coming back sunday to go to a student government conference and I wont be able to change his water or check on him.
By the way, what should I be feeding him during this time period if he's not eating the betta pellets (which he never ate), the flakes, or even the bloodworms? I don't want him to get even weaker because he's not eating, but I don't know what else to give him :/
Sorry for all the questions, but thanks again for the help. I will definitely keep you posted on his condition :)
Last edited by betmybetta; 10-17-2013 at 10:53 AM.
Reason: spelling errors
Since the rot is still in his fins you probably have a bit of time to catch it, but the closer it gets to his body, the harder it is to get rid of. If you treat the rot and cure it chances are his fins will grow back nicely, maybe not 100% as full as they were before, but they will grow back :)
I've also read about Maracyn-2 being useful in treating fin rot, I just prefer to use a more conservative approach before going for medicines and have had luck with AQ salt myself. The dosing for the M2 will probably be for a 10 gallon tank (unsure as I've never had to use it myself) so you'll have to adjust it accordingly. Read the directions too to see what the dosing time is. (I just used a medicine where you add one dose, then 48 hours later add another dose) You want to be sure that you will be home to get all of the doses in on time if it requires more than one dose. If it is for a 10 gallon tank, find like a 1/8 cup measuring cup and measure out 10 of them filled with water in a glass (probably a plastic disposable one). Mix the packet of medicine in there and add 1/8 cup to his tank. By doing that you're just making it concentrated and can use it for small tanks. Does that make sense?
I understand your concern for 100% water changes being so stressful on him right now. Try emptying as MUCH of the water out of his tank as you can without removing him. Use a cup or a turkey baster (probably a new one as you don't want anything that's touched dish soap) to get as far down as you can. That way he's getting the maximum amount of clean water as he can without being stressed out too much :)
I understand about being gone - we as people are busy. Be sure to give him clean fresh water before you go, as much as you can. If it won't stress him out too much I would do a 100% change so you can rinse the rocks off and get as much of the debris out of the water/rocks as you can.
Feeding... that can be a tough one. Sometimes when they're sick, they just won't eat... which isn't always a good sign. I would keep offering him food and if he eats, great! If he doesn't eat anything after about 2 minutes, remove all of the food out of the water so it doesn't make it dirty. Clean water is absolutely key in treating his fin rot right now. If you can get your hands on some frozen blood worms he may go for those. I've had luck with them anyway with both stubborn fish and sick fish.
Don't be sorry for all the questions, you don't know unless you ask :) We all have to start somewhere and this is a great place to come to learn more about these awesome little fish. Keep your chin up and don't get discouraged. I know this is a lot of information to take in at once. I'm almost always near my computer so I'm usually able to respond pretty quickly to things :)
I said I would update you, so here is me keeping my word!
Unfortunately, he passed away a few days ago, but at least he is no longer suffering. I did what I could, but I assume it was too late at that point. However, thank you for all your help. I appreciate that you took your time to do what you could to assist my betta and I.