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Old 09-16-2010, 09:07 AM   #1 
Leaky Buckets
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Location: Myrtle Beach, SC
Brown strings hanging off betta

I've had my betta Leaky Buckets for a year, and this site has always been a huge help! Now I have a problem that I have no idea what to do about.

Leaky has long brown strings hanging off his fins. It doesn't look like he has any fin rot, though. I do have well water, so it is not uncommon to see little brown flecks in his tank from time to time, i guess because my water is really hard. He seemed lathargic, so I put him in a gallon bowl for salt baths.
Anyway, I woke up this morning to see a large chunk of these brown strings gathered in the bottom of the bowl. It seems like WAY too much to be falling off his body, but where else could they have come from??



A little bit about my setup:

10 g tank
heater (76 - 78 degrees)
filter
he's the only fish and I change my water once a week.
i add salt to the water every time i change it, also.

What in the world could this be?
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:33 PM   #2 
Adastra
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Stringy poop, maybe? It's possible your fish has some kind of internal parasite. Have you seen any other poop lately?

Also, it's not a good idea to add salt to your betta's water all the time. Bettas originate from an area of the world where the water has little to no electrolytes (salts) in it, and because of that, their bodies haven't adapted to be able to shed excess salts efficiently. So whenever their water is salted, their organs have to work overtime. This can lead to a shortened lifespan and a weaker immune system. I use salts for small periods of time right after the fish has damaged their fins or otherwise injured themselves, but the salt itself is not a good enough preventative to justify treating the water with it all the time. I hope that made sense.
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:56 PM   #3 
Leaky Buckets
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It isn't poop, it hangs off his fins.

I was told to keep salt in the water to prevent disease. There is a lot of contradictory information out there.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:41 PM   #4 
Adastra
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It could be excess slime coat, although that is normally more clear... have you tested his water lately? Perhaps all the salt is causing some excess slime, but it can also be a reaction to too much nitrate/ammonia. Do you use other slime coat enhancing products?
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:52 PM   #5 
Leaky Buckets
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I have been following the same regimine since I got him in October of last year. I change his water weekly, add AquaSafe water conditioner (which has slime coat enhancers) and add a little aquarium salt. I havent checked my water lately becuase my test strips got ruined somehow, but I know that it is always very hard water (from a well)

I have 2 other bettas that I have had for months and I follow the same regimine with them as well, and only once has one of them suffered from fin rot. Other than that, I've never had any real emergencies.

This is really bothering me! I added some Quick Cure to the water, but don't know what other meds would help.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:25 PM   #6 
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Brown strings hanging off his fins send the signal to my head "external parasites"... Can we get a few more pictures? I wouldn't medicate him with anything else yet until we have a better idea what it might be.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:31 PM   #7 
Adastra
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I don't think he has EPs, all we have is the topview but his fins look really full and his color is good and dark. When a fish is infested usually their color is off and their fins look thin, papery, and tattered. To satisfy your concern, though, you should darken the room and shine a flashlight on the fish--look for small gold crusty granules in between the scales, scattered across the fish. If the fish's body is clear, you should take him out of the medication. Quick Cure is just malachite green and formalin--which kills external parasites and helps prevent secondary infections. Malachite green is a serious chemical treatment, so I definitely wouldn't put the fish through it if it wasn't necessary.

I think you're just using too many slime coat enhancers--salt and the aquasafe are both slime coat promoting products. If you think about it, you were bound to see some slime at some point. :) I would start cutting back on the salt and switch to a dechlorinator that doesn't stimulate slime coat production. My personal favorite is Seachem Prime--it contains only the necessary stuff, no aloe vera crap. It's also quite concentrated, so you get more product for your money and it lasts a long time.

I think you should consider getting a good liquid test kit--if one of your fish got fin rot awhile back, then your cycle might not be as stable as you think. Liquid test kits are much, much more accurate than strips and they're ridiculously cheaper per test compared to strips also.

Last edited by Adastra; 09-16-2010 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:36 PM   #8 
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I thought it might have been all the slime coat enhancers as well, but when he mentioned having other bettas and using this same method for awhile, and the slime/string things are recent, I dismissed the water conditioner..

Maybe try Prime by Seachem conditioner and see if the stringy/slimy stuff stops. Maybe he's just lethargic because his slime coat makes him feel heavy.
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:47 PM   #9 
Leaky Buckets
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Thanks for all your help! I'll switch my water conditioner and cut back on the salt. I took some other pictures, but its really difficult as he flares whenever i put the phone / laptop anywhere near the tank!

This is the best one i could find:
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