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Old 12-04-2011, 11:46 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Nibbity-Nebraska
Angry Can't tell if my betta has a fungal infection or something else

As stated in the title, I think my fish has a fungus growing on him but I'm not entirely sure. I don't want to treat him for the wrong problem.
It's too dark to take a photo right now and he's hiding on the far side of his tank but I'll try to get a few pictures tomorrow when the lighting is better.
I don't think it's ich; the white patches are complete scales, not little salt-sized sprinkles.

What size is your tank? 2 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 78F right now
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? none

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Wardley advanced nutrition perfect protein betta pellets
How often do you feed your betta fish? used to be once a day, four to five pellets, but I've switched to twice a day, 2-3 pellets each time

How often do you perform a water change? once a week; unfortunately I've forgotten to keep this up as well as I should this semester since school has been awful.
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Seachem Prime

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?
No, I can't find my test strips.


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? his coloring is pale and some of his scales have turned a much lighter shade of grey, almost an off-white. His fins are also lighter, sort of cloudy-looking, but there doesn't seem to be any rotting. He isn't bloated and his scales still look flat. It's a black fish in a tank with black gravel so it's hard to tell HOW flat, but they're not horribly pineconed. In the daytime, when the light is better and when I stare at him, I noticed a bit of clear, slightly-fuzzy-slightly-slimy stuff coming off his body. It's not a huge dime-sized piece of fuzz, more like a sprinkle-sized boogery thing floating near his dorsal fin. There's another small bit hanging from the very end of his tail. I'm confused because it doesn't look like pictures I've found online of fungus on fish.

How has your betta fish's behavior changed? generally listless, spends most of his time sitting on his (fake) plant near the surface of the tank or hiding underneath the plant. He still eats all of his food but he's less enthusiastic about it. He swims around his tank occasionally but it's very slowly and only for a short time. Keeps his fins closed. Won't flare at anything.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? earlier this week, shortly before cleaning his tank
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? no; I'm not sure what to do
Does your fish have any history of being ill? no
How old is your fish (approximately)? around 2 years. I got him from a fish store March 2010.

I'm almost positive that part of the problem is my cat; he has started aggressively pestering the fish, sitting on the small sliver of counter and pawing at the tank. The top of the tank is taped down to keep the cat from getting in there, but I'm sure it's still scary for Keanu. His behavior was still fairly normal, slowly swimming around his tank and getting excited when it was time to eat. I live in a small apartment and have no other space to put the fish; we're looking for a house for the spring and in the meantime I'm trying to keep the cat from getting on the counter, but he's being a little prick about it.

There was a bad incident earlier this week which I've NEVER had to deal with in the seven months that I've had this cat: I was cleaning the tank (shortly after noticing Keanu's weird scales) and placed him in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup. I covered the cup, as always, and put it on the counter. By the time I finished cleaning the tank and went to the kitchen to put it on the counter the cat had pulled the towel off of the cup and was pawing at the fish, and had apparently spilled most of the water on the counter. Keanu must have been in shock; he wasn't moving his fins at all and just sat there, doing a slow, creepy barrel roll. His coloring was very gray instead of his normal lovely black and blue. I swatted the cat (have since invested in a spray bottle that only comes out when he goes for the counter) and took care of Keanu as best I could, putting him back in his tank (removing as much of the hairy water in the cup as I could) and keeping it dark and warm for the rest of the day. For the rest of that day he stayed at the bottom of the tank, not moving for anything, but he's been a little better since then.

I haven't found my test strips but I've noticed that the water at this apartment is worse than when I lived with my parents. It tends to leave a bit of crust as it evaporates from the tank, and every time I use the dishwasher the clean dishes are horribly spotty so I'm guessing hardness is a problem. Could this be hurting my fish? I was under the impression that the water conditioner would help with this, but I'm not sure.

Tomorrow I'll clean his tank again and I think I'll try boiling the decorations and gravel, just to be sure they're totally clean. I'll also shut Barkley in a separate room, which will be part of the updated fish cleaning ritual. If I can find my test strips I'll add that information as well. I don't have any aquarium salt and I don't understand how to use epsom salt. I don't want to hurt him by trying to make him better without understanding the methods and reasoning behind what I'm doing.

Last edited by radiationbaby; 12-04-2011 at 11:54 PM. Reason: add more info
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:15 AM   #2 
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Thanks so much for the detail report of your betta Keanu. Based on what you have said so far, what came to my mind are columnaris, fungus, slime coat shedding. Of course, pictures will help a great deal to accurately diagnose the problem.

It is possible that the encounter with your cat Barkley had really stressed Keanu out and thus lowered his immune system which opened him up for risk of infections and the fact that the water change had not been carried out in a timely manner.

What was the longest time in between 100% water change you had so far? Conditioners do not effect or change the hardness of the water.

I think for now, put him in 1 tsp Aquarium Salt /1 gal conditioned water to be changed 100% daily until we see the photos. Did you put him in the AS treatment after the run in with Barkley? The fact that he was left with no water and had cat hair around, and the cat had pawed at him, it would be best to "disinfect" him so to speak as quickly as possible as his slime coat had likely been damaged or disturbed. Do not use Epsom salt at this time, because Epsom salt acts more like a muscle relaxant and is therefore good for constipation or bloating. I see you don't have any aquarium salt, do you have any kosher sea salt that has NO additives added to it?
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Old 12-05-2011, 04:51 PM   #3 
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Ugh, as bad as this is I think I went a whole month without cleaning Keanu's tank. I do not have AQ salt or plain sea salt but I can buy some for him. The nearest pet store is a couple miles away and I think they have some for under $5.

This first picture shows what I mean about his scales. One of them looks kind of like it's flaking off, almost like dry skin, but everything else is laying nicely. He wouldn't sit still for me to check out his fins, which is alright because it means he's moving around more.

This next picture is actually a good shot of what I mean by the white film left by the water; it isn't grime because I scrub the tank walls when I clean. As the water evaporates it leaves those lines; the lowest one is there because I had to add more water to the tank due to the dry air.

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Old 12-05-2011, 11:16 PM   #4 
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I am sorry I don't have answers to either issues. I know you said you had added more Prime into the water, I wonder if that could be causing it. Did you have this film/scum like problem before?

Also, I have searched for the type of condition Keanu has. Now I understand what you mean by the individual scales look slightly raised and discolored. If you look at the first photo at the gray area closer to the head, that looks more like Columnaris but I am not 100% sure about this diagnosis. I suggest PM OFL, Sakura or DM to help you with this. In the meantime, go get the aquarium salt (it's always good to have handy), and change the water 100% daily by using 1tsp of AS with 1 gal of conditioned water with normal dosage of Prime. Hopefully this will at least slow down the progression of this disease and that other members can chime in for advice or suggestions.

Good luck!

Last edited by earthworm88; 12-05-2011 at 11:22 PM.
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fungal infection, fungus, sick betta

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