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Old 12-07-2010, 01:44 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Exclamation Please help! Sick betta!

Hi everyone. I have had my betta for 2 and half years now, and she has recently gotten sick. She is breathing heavily, won't eat, and is quite lethargic. I have been changing her water and keeping her warm, and adding aquarium salt to see if that helps. Anybody please help! I have added some pictures so anyone can look at them and try to figure out what might be wrong.

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Old 12-07-2010, 03:17 PM   #2 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern Virginia
Filling out all the information on this form: will help us pinpoint the problem.

My initial thought is that the fish looks like he has been subjected to ammonia burns and cold temperatures--so please go into detail about your water changing schedule and water testing results.
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:10 PM   #3 
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What size is your tank? 1 gallon
What temperature is your tank? I try to keep it warm, but I don't have a thermometer or a heater
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? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? I just got her some new betta fish flakes, but she hasn't been eating any of her old food or new food
How often do you feed your betta fish? once or twice a day.


How often do you perform a water change? once a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? Sometimes I will do 50 or 25%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? I use AquaSafe and Clear Water

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? Her face has become silvery, gills are swollen and red
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Very lethargic and no eating
When did you start noticing the symptoms? Last Monday
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? I am giving it fresh warm water everyday, I take out 2 cups and add in 2 cups of treated warm water and I have been adding aquarium salt.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? I gave her a new tank once, and I think she got ammonia poisoning from it, but she bounced back quickly once I put her back into her old tank.
How old is your fish (approximately)? 2 and a half years
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:37 PM   #4 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Mississauga, Canada
I can almost garauntee it's from poor water. A 1 gallon unfiltered tank should have 100% water changes every other day if not daily.

The best treatment for any fish illness is...100% daily water changes! Maybe a teaspoon of Aquarium salt per gallon to prevent seconday infections and relax the fish a little. If you do use salt you need to stop by the 10th day.

Heaters and thermometers aren't as expensive as you would think. For a 1 gallon you only need a 10w heater which is good for up to 2.5 gallons. Your local pet shop should sell them for about $15-$20.

Ideally a betta should also be in a tank at least 2.5 gallons. You can usually get a 2.5 gallon starter kit for about $20-$30

Last edited by Malvolti; 12-07-2010 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:07 PM   #5 
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definitely ammonia poisoning, I hesitated to say anything since you mentioned daily water changes, but the red around her gills is a sign of that. Also, I think I see white fuzzy patches on her head. Is it possible that it is a fungal infection?

At worse if you can't afford a heater I say invest in a thermometer (you do need a thermometer if you get a heater to keep track of the temperature) at least and keep the bowl in a warm area. I am sure you can find a 2 gallon Kritter Keeper (or a bowl) at a pet store for $15 or so.

Just a side thought, she has really long ventral fins for a female, I thought they are supposed to be shorter?
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:05 PM   #6 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Upstate New York
Agree, definitely a victim of poor water quality and cold temperatures. I know that in pet stores they tell you that bettas can live happily in small tanks with no heater, no filter, ect. That is completely false. Bettas are happiest in tanks 2.5gallons+ with heaters and slow moving filters.

A 1 gallon tank is hard to heat, the temperature needs to be monitored closely. Your betta at this point needs regular water changes, every day to every other day, the water temp needs to be between 76-82 degrees F. And aquarium salt is a good idea!

On a side note, your betta is definitely a male, not a female!

Good luck! If you have any other questions please dont hesitate to ask!!
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:06 AM   #7 
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Hey everyone,
Thanks for all of your help. I am trying my best to take care of him, but being a broke college student makes it pretty tough to monitor him all of the time. I thought it may be ammonia poising because of the red gills, and I thought maybe a fungal infection because of the way his head looks, all silvery and blotchy looking. And, I always thought he was a male!! but people told me otherwise, even if he was a female, I call him HE all the time! Thanks for all of your help, my fishy is my baby and I would hate to loose him. I will keep you updated. Thanks again!
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