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Old 02-01-2012, 08:49 PM   #1 
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lessandler's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Marin County, CA
TB? Ichthyophonus? 9 month battle


What size is your tank? 6.6 gallons
What temperature is your tank? 79
Does your tank have a filter? yes until 2 days ago when I removed it due to suspected fluke infestation and because he would stay at the bottom when it was on.
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, lots of plants

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? New Life Spectrum Thera A
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2x daily

How often do you perform a water change? now every 2 days, before with filtration 1x a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 50%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? prime, liquid vitamins & betta spa (IAL)

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

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.4

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? patches of cloudy scales opaque white in appearance, missing scales and red patches and large growing smooth cyst bump above one eye that opened today
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? slowing down, hanging at the top or hanging at the bottom when the filtration was on
When did you start noticing the symptoms? 9 months ago

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?

I have been treating him over the last 9 months with a variety of medications including: Potassium permanganate, praziquantenel (prazi pro), API general cure, copper sulfate, Betta Spa, Hikari's betta revive, aquarium salt, kanamyacin raising temperatures etc, never at the same time and with breaks in between treatments and at labeled dosages.

From the moment I received him (he is a thai aquabid import that was shipped) he has never been well. He was gasping for air and came infested with gill flukes. It is stated everywhere are impossible to eradicate but I did first try API general cure in the home tank according to instructions. When later the patches appeared I tried copper sulfate since it would not harm the filter. It was suggested to me that it was still flukes (and secondary infections) and to break down the entire tank and PP it, replace everything - plants, substrate decor, filter media, which I did and made the whole thing dark purple, let it dry and replaced everything.

During that time he was in a 5 gallon hospital tank (it is heated & filtered) where he received a 28 day stay with PP for the flukes, followed by Betta revive, since the active ingredients were suggested for the bacterial infections (the patches) that follow flukes. The patches never went away, but I returned him to the tank thinking his infections just needed time and a healthy environment to recover.

Over the months the patches slowly got worse and his scales started to come off and have red patches appear. I did not medicate since most diseases say they will go away with good water quality which I maintained. Then about 1 month ago I noticed a lump over his eye which grew slowly. The lump was smooth, with no cottony patches or signs of fungus. During this time, his tank was cycled, regularly maintained and had many plants.

REcently I put him back in the hospital tank, treated both the QT and home tank with prazi pro thinking it was still flukes. Then I treated his QT tank with kanamycin for 9 days as suggested for common infections following flukes. During the stay in the tank his head lump continuously has grown.

I put him back in his home tank after I again treated with Potassium permangante and drained and refilled. His bump opened today with a small hole. I am starting to get concerned it is fish TB because it has not responded to any recommended medications for any possible disease and he has been in a filtered, heated, maintained tank for 9 months.

The worst part is my other fish that live in larger well cycled and filtered planted tanks with perfect parameters are now showing slight signs of disease such as eye clouding and bloody self nipped fins and I would like to put one in the QT tank. BUt I am concerned if it is fish TB I need to throw away my QT tank and not use it for other fish.

Sorry for the novel I am at a loss... I spend 3x more time on my 3 fish than my 2 dogs and after 50+ hours of research I have no idea what I am dealing with. Everything with cysts and lumps ends with incurable. I don't have a lot of hope for his survival but I am also concerned about infecting my other fish and whether I need to dump his whole tank and QT tanks after his demise.

Thanks for reading this...
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lessandler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2012, 05:03 PM   #2 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Elk Grove, California
Hmm. Usually when there are ulcers from TB, they are reddened in appearance, not whiteish. Do the whitish lumps he's had look anything at all like lymphocystis?
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:08 AM   #3 
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Wow your poor guy just looks completely emaciated. How many of the NLS are you feeding each time? What would cause that might be fish TB but also malnourishment or internal parasites.

I wonder if he might have internal parasites. Have you ever treated for this by feeding anti parasite fish food or mixing up your own feed? NLS don't work for soaking/feeding because they just don't soak up. How often does he poop and what does it look like?
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:09 AM   #4 
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The emaciation is most likely due to the poor guy being ill, not from the food.. a Thai import I'm sure the OP is giving him proper care- NLS is one of the best pellet food out there.
BUT if he is eating healthy and still getting smaller then it could very well be internal parasites- look for long, white stringy waste as that is one of the tell-tale signs of an infection.

What I was thinking when the bump opened up into a small hole- that it could be lymph.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:25 PM   #5 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Elk Grove, California
I doubt it's malnourishment. I'm thinking internal parasites as well. Les, I would start him on epsom salts, 3 tsps per gallon, and probably Hikari HealthAid Metro to use as a food soak. Best way to treat internal parasites is to feed the meds internally. 1 tsp of the meds mixed into a small amount of vegetable oil. Mix some pellets into that and let them air dry naturally. If you can find Seachem Garlic Guard, you can add that to the vegetable oil at the same time as the meds. Otherwise, try adding fresh-squeezed garlic juice. Once the pellets are dry, feed them as you normally would for 5-10 days exclusively. You may need to feed him only once a day to make him hungry enough to eat the medicated food.

I hope this works. I remember this little guy and his gill fluke battle. He wasn't darting or rubbing so we weren't sure it was flukes at first.
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:16 AM   #6 
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You don't need to let them air dry. Just soak for 10-15min and feed. 2 twice a day seems to be a good amount. Hikari HealthAid Metro is Metronidazole so if you can't find that Seachem makes this or you can even use API General Cure. Make sure to mix it up fresh at least daily if not each time you feed.

Why vegetable oil? Just wondering.. Garlic guard is flavor enhancer and immune system booster and natural anti parasdic properties.. aquarium water I've used.. vita chem.. this is new.
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:13 AM   #7 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Elk Grove, California
If you use pellets, it's helpful to let them air dry just so they don't stick to your fingers or disintegrate because they're moist. If you mix up pellets, you don't need to mix up new each time. Just like other medicated foods (Jungle Labs medicated pellets, AngelsPlus medicated flakes), medicated pellets will keep if stored in an airtight cool container. If you soak bloodworms in the mixture, those would need to be mixed up after about two-three days. That is the maximum time I usually keep thawed bloodworms in my fridge (also, I've used them up by then anyway - greedy bettas, haha).

Vegetable oil acts as a binder, much the same way Seachem Focus does. However, Focus is even harder to find than Kanaplex so it makes sense for people to use what they might have in their kitchen. Garlic Guard is a great product and fortunately, much easier to find but fresh garlic juice works just as well. I've used a combination of both Garlic Guard and Vita-Chem in my medicated foods and it does seem to improve the taste.

Another thing, Les, is if you can't find Hikari HealthAid Metro, you might be able to get a tablet or two of metronidazole from a local veterinarian. Metro is commonly used as a dewormer for cats/dogs and for a few other uses (my cat recently had to take it for diarrhea). Some vets don't give out meds if they haven't personally seen the pet but maybe you can find one that will give you a tablet if you explain what it is for. All you need is one. Crush it up into powder and mix the same way you would the Hikari product.
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:40 PM   #8 
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You lose a lot of the medication if you let it air dry as the meds dissolve into the liquid and then at least part will evaporate as they dry. It would seem reasonable that maybe if you do let them dry and store in an airtight container that you don't have to mix them up fresh but the meds lose effectiveness in liquid after 24hrs so if you're feeding wet you for sure need to mix up fresh each time, which I highly suggest doing. The stuff that's premade in the store is done in a way so the meds are contained and that's not by soak + evaporation method. I've never had a problem feeding them wet and I've never known anyone to let them dry or seen it suggested anywhere else too so idk.. you can use a small spoon if you don't feel comfortable using your fingers and then dip the spoon in the water and the pellets come right off. Personally, I just run my hands in hot tap water and dry well before I touch and never seemed to be an issue.

Interesting on the binder.. thanks for sharing :)
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