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Old 02-24-2012, 03:03 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Weird Patch Under Head

hi everyone,

we're new owners of a betta. the first one passed last weekend (after surviving a couple of weeks),and we got a new one. the second one has done better for a couple days, but now the same symptoms are happening.

the last fish got weird spots underneath his head, stopped eating, and fins clamped up. we treated him for fungus, because it didn't look like any picture of ich or anything else i could find online. we did the full fungal treatment, hoped for the best, then he just died last weekend :(

i've answered the questions below, but we have a 2.5g tank, heater, a couple live plants, a cave, different kinds of food...50% water change weekly. i think we're doing what we're "supposed" to, but as these spots have appeared again, i think it's time to ask for help!

symptoms are just beginning for this fish but they're the same: a lighter patch all over the bottom of his head (not white, but lighter...he's a dark blue-headed betta with a teal-colored body that still looks fine), fins are beginning to clamp together a bit, and he's stopped eating. he's still swimming around, but the light-colored spot just started last night.

What size is your tank? 2.5g
What temperature is your tank? 76-80F
Does your tank have a filter? no
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? yes
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? pellets, bloodworms
How often do you feed your betta fish? 3ish pellets a day, bloodworms for a treat

How often do you perform a water change? weekly
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? 1 tsp aquarium salt per gallon, API stress coat to condition water

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? yes at a petstore. we were told it is fine.

If so, what are the following parameters?


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? appearance of lighter-colored patches on the underside of his head

How has your betta fish's behavior changed? still swimming around, but sometimes jerking his head a bit. this happened last time too.

When did you start noticing the symptoms? yesterday and today

Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Not yet, but i was thinking i'd try more aquarium salt. i was reading some postings and people suggested adding more salt to the water. i don't think we can up the temp any higher.

Does your fish have any history of being ill? not yet, but the last one got the same stuff and died.

How old is your fish (approximately)? we've only had him a week!
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Old 02-24-2012, 04:49 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Lake Havasu, Arizona
Check your heater for any sort of leaks. If it is leaking, change all the water immediately and dispose of the heater.

As far as water changes go, you should be doing a little more changes weekly. 1 50% and 1 100% is ideal for a week. some bettas can't handle the full change, so you can break up the amount changed at once, so long as the same amount all-together is changed during the week.

You can stop the aquarium salt (Are you doing a full water change before adding any new?). If you don't change all the water before adding more salts, you could very easily be overdosing on it. Aquarium salt is not needed unless you are treating for an external issue like ick.

For now, inspect your heater and do a 100% water change with only your water conditioner, no salt.
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:26 PM   #3 
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thanks for your advice. we'll try changing it maybe three times 50% for this week (for the total of a full water change plus 1/2 water change).

i was wrong--i guess we ARE doing a full 100% change weekly, but i'm thinking you're right in that there's probably overload of salt. from the directions and online advice we've read, it seemed like 1 tsp per gallon was needed when we change the water. but if we're not changing 100% plus 50% per week, that definitely would add to too much salt. it's very confusing!

would an overload of salt make his fins clamp up and cause those patches? i read the sticky on common betta disease, etc, but our symptoms don't really fit any of those things. he's definitely not depressed--still swimming happily along.

i tried checking the seems to be ok, but is there a way to tell for sure?

thank you!
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Old 02-24-2012, 05:30 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Lake Havasu, Arizona
An overdose on salt might be causing your issue, so give him time in just plain water with conditioner to see if he improves any. I'd say give him a few days before expecting major improvement.

I experienced a leaky heater once and it nearly killed my favorite betta twice (Tried the whole rinsing route and it didn't work out). Take the filter out and look for any gaps or loosely fitted plastics. Maybe try putting it in just a bucket of water (Doesn't have to be conditioned) after letting it dry to see if any air bubbles escape or develop in certain places.

What brand is your heater as well? My issue was with a Topfin brand. Others have great success with them, but I don't trust them any more.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:47 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
i tried looking for all the papers and stuff for the heater (or if i saved the box), but i'm honestly not sure. it is definitely possible that it's Topfin, or something more generic. it doesn't seem to have any leaks....

we're going to try a full water change today.

do you think we need a tank with a filter? we've got an aerating stone. this just gets so expensive...and i know some people have total success with just a bowl, a little gravel, a betta and a plant. with the heater, treatments, etc, i'm just hesitant to go buy another tank. we'll try turning off the bubbling part to reduce his stress also.
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Old 02-25-2012, 05:30 PM   #6 
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Location: Lake Havasu, Arizona
A filter is not necessary for a betta.

Try isolating the heat to see if he improves at all. You could try cupping him with some fresh water and floating him in his normal tank. Do 100% water changes while he's in the cup. If he improves with the 100% changes and fresh water, that's a sure sign that something in the actual tank is off.

Rinse everything thoroughly. Gravel, plants, air stone, heater, everything. Warm water and a little vinegar should be more than enough to clean and disinfect should it not be chemical related.
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