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Old 10-11-2010, 03:22 AM   #1 
LittleBettaFish
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Possible columnaris or fungal infection

One of my bettas has suddenly developed a grey fuzzy patch on the end of his tail. He looked fine this morning, but I noticed stuff hanging off the end of his tail tonight when I got home from work, and the whole end of the tail seems grey, sort of like it is dying.

His tank is cycled, and has been since I bought him. I was worried it might have gone through a mini-cycle without me noticing, but I just checked the water stats then, and both ammonia and nitrite were zero and nitrates were around 10-15 ppm. Itís around 7 gallons, filtered and heated to 82 or so degrees.


He does however, have a piece of driftwood in there that he has snagged his tail on a few times. Could it be a fungal infection thatís gotten into one of the cuts, or something more serious like columnaris? Aside from looking a little paler than normal, heís either sitting at the top of his tank or resting on one of the Anubias leaves. However, he jumped out of the water to get some of the bloodworms I was giving him, and he responds to my finger when I wiggle it.


I feel awful since one my favourite little bettas, Nereus, got something stuck in his throat and choked to death only last week. Now Iím worried my other bettas might catch whatever Pendragon has, since I use the same bucket to do water changes with. I tried to get photos but he kept swimming too close to me so I either got a orange blur or a reflection of my self as well as an orange blur.
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:22 AM   #2 
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How much and how often are the water changes and when was the last one, additives used, any live plants, type of filtration? Is this a divided tank or is he in it alone?
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:02 PM   #3 
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It could be saprolegnia, which is a type of true fungus often found on injured fin tissue. If he's acting fairly normally, I think it's more likely to be sapro than bacteria because usually when a fish has a bacterial infection they act very ill and lethargic. Sapro seems to clear up pretty well with just aquarium salt and lots of water changes--if it's spreading, though, and the fish is weakening, many people switch to topical treatments at that point, like swabbing the area with melafix or a potassium permanganate paste.
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:14 PM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
How much and how often are the water changes and when was the last one, additives used, any live plants, type of filtration? Is this a divided tank or is he in it alone?
He lives in it alone, and water changes are about 10-15% twice a week. It's got an internal power filter that I've baffled, and aside from the odd dose of ferts or excel, nothing else goes in. His tank has never suffered from any mini-cycles or anything that I could think of that would stress him. Next time I think I'm just sticking with the girls, less fancy fins to get stuck on everything I swear the boys just swim along looking for the filter intake or the pointy bit of driftwood.

Adastra: I was looking at that being a possibility since this morning he has popped out to say hello and he was trying to get my finger when I stuck it in. I'm going to give his water a big change this morning, and then go pick up some aquarium salt. How much should I add to seven gallons of water? I never use salt so I'm not really sure, is it just like a teaspoon every few gallons or something?
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:19 PM   #5 
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If you do a salt treatment I would QT him in a smaller container-
I use aquarium salt 1tsp/gal along with 100% daily water changes for no longer than 10 days
I like to pre-mix the salt in a 1gal jug to help make dosage and water changes easier
Also-when I treat I like to keep the water temp in the low range of normal-in the 76F range-careful raising water temp with a already compromised fish.
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:30 PM   #6 
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Ok, I'll move him into one of my spare tanks. It's the same size, but I just won't fill it so high. Also, do I need to sanitize or do anything else with his old tank before I put him back in?

Sorry for all the questions, but if it is Saprolegnia, is that really contagious? I've been using the same bucket and container to do water changes with on all my tanks, and I don't want anyone else getting sick.

Anyways thanks for all the help . He's such a ugly looking little thing, but he's always the first to be at the glass waiting for breakfast and loves to swim in and out of the container I use to do water changes with. Hopefully if I do the salt treatment and swab it with some melafix, it'll clear up. It didn't seem to have spread that much overnight but I have work so I'll get my mum to keep eyes on him.
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:46 PM   #7 
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Saprolegnia spores are a normal part of healthy systems and always in the tank and it feeds off of decaying matter and harmless to healthy fish and livestock-poor water quality from poorly maintained aquariums, stressed, wounded, immune compromised livestock can be infected with this common fungus
Water changes and maintaining water quality are the best preventive-QT sick and injured fish.
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:53 AM   #8 
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Well I had to euthanise Pendragon tonight . When I got home, he was floating at the top of his tank gasping. After a while, he would suddenly start twitching and swimming around erratically. The fungus patch had spread by maybe half a centimeter if that, but aside from that, he looked fine otherwise, no 'saddle back' or white patches on his body or anything.

Tomorrow in my break, I'm going to buy some new water changing buckets and a siphon, just in case it was something nasty. I'm afraid to bleach anything in case I accidentally kill one of my other fish, and I really don't want my two crowntails or my goldfish to get sick. My mum is never going to let me buy anymore fish at this rate. She gets as attached as I do, and it's both sad and frustrating that I've had such a run of bad luck lately.

I still also have no clue how he got it. His water conditions have never been anything but pristine, he was the most relaxed of my betta fish, and he's never been in contact with any fish, sick or otherwise.

Here's a picture of him from the first couple of days after I bought him home:


Last edited by LittleBettaFish; 10-12-2010 at 04:56 AM.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:05 AM   #9 
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Being a responsible pet owner-sometimes we have to make tough decisions that are in the best interest of our pets...they are never easier......know that you did the right thing by your pet and sometimes no matter how well we tend to our pets...stuff happens...even with the best care.......sorry for your loss....
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:02 AM   #10 
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Too bad he didn't come around for you. :( Saprolegnia often presents itself in fish who have underlying health issues that have compromised their immune systems. It's possible there was something much more major going on with him internally that left him weak to a fungal infection. Sorry for your loss.
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