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Old 12-08-2010, 12:02 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Fin rot? discoloration at the base of my betta's dorsal

What size is your tank?
About 1 gallon.

What temperature is your tank?
Room temperature. Somewhere in the 70's.

Does your tank have a filter?

Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Just a few live plants.

Is your tank heated?

What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
Pellets. Four pellets twice a day. Very recently switched to 3 twice a day, after these problems started.

How often do you feed your betta fish?
Twice a day.


How often do you perform a water change?
Varies a little, but around twice a week.

What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
1/2 to 3/4.

What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?
Aquarium salts and AquaSafe.

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

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
So a few days ago, maybe closer to a week now, I took a good look at my betta and realized that the dorsal fin was looking really ragged all the way to the base, and I don't think he could be chewing it because it's too close to his mouth. Also, the base looked faintly discolored, kind of a pale, unhealthy brownish, whereas his body is dark blue. Also, just today when I took another very good look at him, the rest of his body is kind of getting discolored, that same dull unhealthy brownish.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
He's been swimming around and seems okay. He eats when I feed him. I think he might be a little more hyper when I approach him, and maybe a little more lethargic when he's on his own, but I can't say for sure.

When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Maybe 5-6 days ago.

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
I've been changing his water, at least 1/2, everyday or every other day. And I downed his feeding from 4 pellets twice a day to 3.

Does your fish have any history of being ill?

How old is your fish (approximately)?
I bought him in Walmart this past June. So I've had him about 7 months. He was adult when I got him.

Here are pictures, the best I could do, he was moving around like crazy.

Please advise, I really think my fish is seriously ill, not sure what to do. I'll probably take him to Petsmart this evening, but it would be good to have some input first.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:09 PM   #2 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Upstate New York
He's not looking so good is he? Do you see the faint horizontal lines on his sides? Those are called stress stripes, something in his environment is stressing him, or he may be stressed because he's not feeling well. There are quite a few things that will cause a betta to stress out, lose color, become lethargic, ect.

The first thing that jumps out at me in the pictures are his fins, they're very clumpy and stiff looking, this is usually caused by poor water quality. You said that you change his water everyother day or so, how long have you been doing this? Consistently? Or just since you noticed him not looking so good? Do you add and water conditioners to the water? In a 1 gallon bowl you really need to do 100% water changes every other day.

Also think there's a good chance that he is cold. Bettas are tropical fish, and their water needs to be 76-82 degrees F for them to stay comfortable and healthy. Do you have a thermometer in the bowl? Chances are the water is cooler then you think it is, and you said you think its around 70 degrees.

I can't tell in the pictures if he has finrot, but it wouldn't surprise me. My recommendation would be to put him in a bigger tank, you can find 2 1/2 gallon critter keepers in petsmart/petco/walmart for $10-$15, get him a nice small 10Watt heater (I know that petco and petsmart both carry heaters that heat up to 2 1/2-3 gallons) Add some aquarium salt to his water, this will help boost his immune system and start to fight off infections! Good luck!! And feel free to post anymore questions that you might have!
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:55 PM   #3 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern Virginia
My first impression is that the fish is cold--he seems pale and his fins are held close to the body. Room temperature is not ideal for bettas, since they are cold blooded animals that are adapted to survive in tropical temperatures. They can become sickly, lethargic, and have digestion and circulation problems when they're denied access to proper heat. Most heaters are designed for use in tanks that are 2 gallons or larger, so until you get a larger container this will continue to be a problem. I highly recommend investing in a 25 watt adjustable heater instead of a pre-set or otherwise nonadjustable version since nonadjustables are lower quality and lack a thermostat--making them prone to underheating or overheating your tank. Adjustables are only a couple of dollars more, but have much more value. I use and recommend this brand:

Second, there is some weird coloration going on with this fish--he is either a marble, or his fins have been damaged in the past and have grown in clear. The orange spot on his side is a little bizarre, but from the texture it doesn't seem to be an ulcer or anything, so the fish may just be a funky marble.

I also think you're likely not changing the water enough--a one gallon tank is really a very small amount of water, and considering that a fish is constantly excreting toxic ammonia through its gills as it breathes, it builds up to dangerous levels quickly and places an immense pressure on your fish's immune system. A one gallon container should get a 100% water change every other day.

A good solution to the small container issue would be to get a cheap critter keeper, as the previous post suggested. Alternatively, you can use a rubbermaid/sterilite plastic storage bin. These bins are safe to heat, easy to clean, and very durable. You may have one around the house already or one you can borrow from a friend. If you have to buy one, a 3-4 gallon storage bin is only about $3 from walmart or target. They're not the most attractive tanks, but it will do until you save up enough money to get a fancier setup.

You're also feeding your fish quite a bit, and he looks a bit obese. Considering he doesn't have much room to exercise and the temperature is low, he isn't burning a lot of the calories he takes in every day. Try lowering your feedings to two pellets twice a day--once he is in a larger heated environment the extra fat should come off and he'll quickly go back to a more normal betta shape.

On a somewhat unrelated note, the plants you have in his bowl aren't truly aquatic plants. If you keep them fully submerged, they'll rot away and die in your tank--causing a big mess. If you can somehow put the plant on something so the roots are in the water but the leaves are all still exposed to the air, it will thrive off of your fish's waste and improve the water quality.

There is no reason to take him to the pet store--they don't have anything there that will suddenly make him better, and the employees at those stores are notoriously ignorant of the proper use and function of most of the medications they sell. I could almost put money on them giving you a bottle of bettafix or some kind of ich treatment--both of which would more than likely make him worse. Simply make arrangements to get a larger, heated container and provide the fish with more consistently clean conditions and he should bounce back.

Last edited by Adastra; 12-08-2010 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:45 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Aug 2010
I'll buy a bigger tank with a heater today, and down his feeding. I do use aquarium salts and water conditioners already, but it's been hard to measure them out with such a small tank. Thanks for the suggestions, I'll keep you all posted on how he looks and if he makes it. My apartment has been cold lately, maybe it's a temperature thing after all.
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