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Old 11-14-2011, 01:18 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Nov 2011
My betta fish looks like he has severe dry skin???

Hello, I am new here. 1st time owner of a betta that I got 2 & 1/2 months ago.

At first he was very active, curious about things going on around his tank, used to make bubbles and swim a lot.

But lately
1. He has stopped eating (he used to swim to the top as soon as I open the bowl lid & wait for me to drop the food, eat it immediately). Now he doesn't seem to care at all.
2. Not swimming around like usual but just lying on the bottom all the time.
3. Not responding (he used to swim to the top as soon as he looks at my fingers and move around in his tank following my fingers)

Here is my betta's details:
1 male Betta in 1/2 gallon Marina betta fish bowl with lid.
1 plastic plant & some accent gems on the bottom.
Complete water change every week with betta water conditioner.
2,3 Topfin pellets, twice a day. Changed it to Nutrafin flaky food for bettas few days ago as I thought he got bored of eating the same food everyday.
No heater till now (as the lady in pet shop said it's not needed for a fish in the bowl, as it may sometimes get overheated. She said she has a betta for the past 2,3 years in a bowl without heater & he is doing very fine)
Today I got one betta bowl heater that is supposed to go under the gravel.
No thermometer, got that also today & attached it to his tank, it showed 72F (I have to say that today is a bit warmer here, past couple of days were kind of cold)

This is how I change water:

I thoroughly wash one container with just warm water & fill it with room temperature water from kitchen tap & put few drops of betta conditioner in it. I'll let it sit with his bowl for couple of hours (hoping that fish bowl & the
changing container will come to the same temperature, so that my little guy will not have temperature shock) Then I change him into this container & wash his fish bowl, plant & gems with hot water under the tap. I don't use any soap. After washing, I will put the plant & drop the gems and fill it up with room temparature water from kitchen tap, put some betta water conditioner in it & let it sit with the container for a couple of hours. Then I change him in to his bowl.

But for the past week, one day he eats a little, the other day none. (He used to do that once in a while- eat 4 or so in the morning & not eat in the evening. Sometimes not eat much a whole day & eat fine the next). So I couldn't make it if he is sick or just bored with his food. So I changed his food thinking that he got bored of eating the same thing everyday. 1st day he ate the new food well & swam well. But the next day he was not interested at all. He just sits on the bottom a lot. I am worrying a lot about him not knowing what to do.

Today I went back to the pet shop again to know what's wrong with my betta. The lady (not the other two ladies I talked during my previous visits) there said may be his water is getting cold for him. So I bought a water heater. Also bought thermometer to keep a track of temperature in his tank. I didn't install the heater yet, but he is swimming somewhat ok & eating a little.

He looks thinner than before as he is not eating well. In one angle, he looks like HE HAS SEVERE DRY SKIN ALL OVER HIS BODY. I cannot get that in picture. I found it as I looked at him with magnifying glass.
Is it some kind of fungus? How do I confirm what it is or treat him?
I asked the pet store lady the same questions & she told me to install the heater & look for the changes in his eating & behavior. She said betta bowl salt is not necessary now.

I am somehow not totally happy with my trip to the pet store as I am reading on the web since last night, about fish deceases & worrying that he may have velvet. His skin looks golden & also very dry, in one angle. I think am noticing some loss of color also in some parts.

I am attaching some pictures of him below.
1. First day we got him from the pet shop.
2. Couple of weeks later, I got a close up shot of him. (I tried to get close-ups lot of times prior to this, but couldn't get a good one as he used to swim around a lot)
3. Two days later he was making bubble nets.
4. Picture of him today just lying low on the bottom of his tank.

I find this website really wonderful & I am hoping some experienced Betta keepers will check the pictures & let me know. Thank you very much in advance.
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:39 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: California, USA
I'm sorry your guy isn't feeling well, but I believe with a few husbandry changes he can start feeling good. First off, 1/2 gallon is much too small. Why? It gets dirty way too quickly and it cannot be heated properly.

Betta fish come from the tropical climate of Thailand, so they must have warm water (76 F - 80 F). It's great you didn't listen to the pet store employee's bad advice and went ahead and got a heater, however, 72 F is still much too cold.

Changing his water once a week on a 1/2 gallon is not nearly frequent enough. I recommend every other day doing complete water changes in a bowl that size. However, it really is too small for him to be comfortable, so what I suggest you do is upgrade him to *at least* a 2.5 gallon and get a better heater. If you do upgrade him to a 2.5 gallon then you will only need to do full water changes twice a week.

When was the last time you did a water change? If it was more than a day or two ago I would do one now. His clamped fins, discoloration, lack of energy and appetite are evidence to me that he is unhappy, stressed, and not feeling well.
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:01 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Dallas, TX
He sure is gorgeous! Hopefully with some warm water - and maybe a little bigger tank he will perk up!
By the way, they sell 2gallon kritterkeepers at Petco/Petsmart for about $10-12 which is the same price as those .5 gal cubes. (i used to have one of those a long time ago)
Unfortunately a lot of big name pet stores sell "betta tanks" that are way too small and they over-price them too since they look so pretty! They're just trying to make some money - as is the employees there too. I've found most of them have no clue about proper betta care and usually pass on misinformation. You've come to a great place! Look forward to more pics of your new guy :)
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:24 PM   #4 
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New tank or Old home? / Gravel or gems?

Thank you LionCalie & mjoy79 for your replies. After reading online that he needs a bigger tank, I almost bought a bigger tank today when I was in Petco. But in the last minute I dropped, worrying that the new tank & new environment will stress him more and make him more sick :( Just now I did a complete change of water in his bowl. I am about to install new heater in his bowl & that's when I found your replies. I am in a dilemma now about what to do? Get a new bigger tank or continue him in his old familiar bowl until he gets better? I don't know if he will be excited about the new big tank & goes around swimming, exploring the new home OR as he is already sick, new environment will stress him more?

Also I have one more question: the heater I got is an under gravel heater. I have gems in his bowl now. I want to start using the heater tonight before temparature drops more. Does it really matter gems or gravel. Or should I use only gravel?
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:05 PM   #5 
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Location: California, USA
I would try with the gems, because it's important he gets into warm water, but make sure to monitor the water temperature closely with a thermometer until you are sure it is safe. He will likely become a little stressed going in a new environment. However, I would argue that being in such a small bowl is more stressful due to the frequency of water changes you have to do to keep the water in good quality.

For now though, since he is in clean water and you got a new heater, I would just try to get the temperature to the recommended 76 - 80 F. See if he perks up and then go from there.
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:46 PM   #6 
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Location: Dallas, TX
I agree with LionCalie :)
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Old 11-15-2011, 09:08 AM   #7 
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Questions about raising water temparature and bubbles in water??

Last night I used the new heater in Dheera's old bowl. I didn't want him to be stressed about the whole new setup. But I added new gems that I brought for him a couple of days ago, to add some excitement in his old, familiar home. First he was a little curious about the new wire that was in his tank but he went back down to the bottom & stayed there. I took out the plant as I didn't want to crowd the bowl. That was his favorite hiding place. But since he fell sick, he didn't go up there at all. He stayed on the bottom. I took out the plant as I thought he wouldn't have enough room to swim around in his new warm water. Was that a mistake?

I noticed teeny tiny bubbles, hundreds of them in his water. They are stuck to the gems, heater wire & some are on the walls. What are these bubbles?

He didn't eat anything since yesterday morning. I raised water temperature in his tank from 70F to 74F degree by degree gradually over 10 hours. Is it too fast or slow? Now the temperature of the water is at 76F. That means 6F raised in 13 hours time. I am planning to let it stay there for couple of hours & then slowly increase it to 78F. How far up should I go? 80F or 82F?

Somehow he doesn't seem to be excited about anything. He is just staying down at the bottom. I am worried that he may be very very sick. He didn't eat anything last night and this morning. He is not interested at all.
Is the temperature change making him stressed? or is he missing his plant? Are the bubbles making him sick? Please help me.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:16 AM   #8 
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78-80 is good. I wouldn't worry too much about the bubbles, that is just because you changed his water - sometimes tap water has gases trapped in it, air and stuff. As far as I know no betta has been hurt by that. How is he?
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:20 AM   #9 
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Location: South Carolina
if you wanna put him in a bigger tank, but don't wanna stress him out, put his old stuff in it. that's what i do when i change tanks on my bettas. :3 he'll be happier once he's in a new tank. i've found that they LOVE exploring, and usually don't stress out when you move them.
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:24 AM   #10 
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Still not doing well. Is he really sick? :(

Thank you very much LionCalie, mjoy79 and FuulieQ for your replies. The fact that you care so much means a lot to me.

Here is the update:
I gradually raised the water temperature by 10F in 24 hours. He still doesn't move much. He is not eating also. Yesterday he was hiding in the gems all day. So I put his plant back to give him his favorite hiding place but he didn't move much. This morning I got him to move a little and quickly got couple of pictures. Most of them are really bad as he moved pretty quickly and went back to the bottom again very quickly. For a minute there he was on the gems but quickly went back to hide in the gems again.

He is still not eating. I am very very worried. Why is he still not happy in warm water? Is the temperature change stressful to him? Or does he have something like ick or velvet? His skin does look very very dry with white coating like thing. I can see it but not able to get it in the pictures. I think he also has gold mist kind of thing all over his body, mostly under mouth. Or is it that he lost his color? As he is not moving much & hiding in the gems, I am not able to tell. As I look from the top of the tank he looks awfully thin. Can anybody please look at the pictures & tell me if he needs any treatment? I am going to change his water again today. Should I add little salt to his water then?

I am attaching pictures below.
1. Hiding in the gems. Hard to spot so I circled.
2. I see lot of gold shiny thing under his mouth in this picture. Is it velvet? :(

Right now, he is still hiding in the gems. I want him back to normal- healthy, happy & curious. Please look at these pictures and tell me what you think. Thanks in advance.
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