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Old 02-27-2012, 05:25 PM   #1 
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Fungus or Ich? Help with diagnosis!

I'm new to this, but would really like some help. Clifford my betta is really sick, and I can't seem to tell what it is he has!

I got Clifford a little over a week ago. He did have a long drive to get home (probably about two hours or so) but I did my best to get him comfortable before introducing him to his new home. He is living in a betta bowl, probably about 1 gallon, to 1 1/2 gallons. There are just decorative rocks at the bottom and a peace lilly on top. I don't have a heater in the bowl with him.

He was eating fine the first couple of days I got him but after about four days he stoped eating and I started noticing these white spots on him. you can't see the spots always, just in certain types of lighting. He is very lethargic, barely goes up to get air and tends to stay borrowed in the rocks at the bottom of the bowl.

I did a partial water change the day I noticed him being sick, and thinking it was ich, started treating the water with Kordon Rid Ich Plus. I just did the third treatment of the medication and he doesn't seem any better. I don't really know what to expect, or how long the treatment will take...

I keep going back an forth between Ich and Fungus. Any help would be wonderful! Thank you!
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Last edited by ArsRose; 02-27-2012 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:45 PM   #2 
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Looks like ich to me.

These are tropical fish, and as such they require a heater. Without one, they will be stressed and just like in humans stress weakens the immune system.

To compound the problem, ich has a life cycle and goes through a few phases. The speed of this cycle is dependent on temperature. On the fish it is immune to treatment. When it is done feeding, it falls off into the substrate and begins to multiply, and again is immune. When the hundreds of new parasites are released and free swimming they actively look for a host. This is the only time it can be attacked by medication.

In cold water, this cycle takes a long time to complete (weeks). With a heater, you can turn the temperature up to 76 and the cycle will end in ~4 days. Higher temperature = shorter cycle.

I would recommend buying a heater, the smallest you will likely be able to find is 25W which is overkill for a gallon. Make sure it is adjustable and slowly raise the temperature over a period of 24-48 hours to 86 degrees.

A 1 gallon is extremely small, and to maintain good water quality you must change 100% of the water weekly, and 50% a couple times between the complete changes. During the 100% change you must cup him and re-acclimate him to the new temperature. Try to get the new water as close as possible to the tanks water. For 50% changes you can leave him in the bowl, but still need to get the new water as close as possible in temperature. Large swings or sudden changes is very stressful. As always, treat the water before adding. During these changes you'll need to unplug the heater.

If he lives, I strongly advise getting a much larger home for him. The amount of work required is greatly reduced in 5g or larger tanks because they can be cycled (I can explain that if you don't know what it means).
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:46 PM   #3 
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That looks more to be like a fungus. you shoudl really think about getting him a better tank so you can fit a heater. Cold temperatures lower a betta's immunity and allows for infection.

Take the peace lilly out and put it in another bowl or vase. Change out all of the water and add in a water conditioner that removes chlorine and heavy metals.

Get a box of aquarium salt for this treatment. Dissolve 1 tsp of aquarium salt for every gallon of water the bowl holds. (It's easiest to premix in a gallon jug and just use the water from that) After you change all of the tank water, refill it with the salt water mixture. Change all of the water every day and repeat with the aquarium salt for a maximum of 10 days.

If you don't see an improvement within 5 days of treating at 1 tsp/gal, then bump up the aquarium salt to 2 tsp/gal.

For this treatment you have to change the water 100% every single day.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:57 PM   #4 
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My betta recently recovered from ich and I don't think that's what you're dealing with. At least in my experience, the ich spots are very well defined, although tiny. Your fish looks more fuzzy, like a fungus.

Last edited by gylie; 02-27-2012 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:14 PM   #5 
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Thank you all so much for your responses! The Rid Ich medication I'm using says that it works on fungus as well as ich... Is it possible to use that plus the aquarium salt? (So I can cover both bases since I'm still not sure which it is) Or is that overkill? I'm in college, and won't be able to get a larger tank for him quite yet. I'm planning on looking into heater units though. I found one that says it's specifically for betta bowls maybe that would work?

Thank you again for your help! It is much appreciated!
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:45 PM   #6 
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Looks like fungus and fin rot.

There are small, flat heaters for fish bowls. Like this one:

I wouldn't start mixing treatments myself, but maybe someone else with more Betta experience will chime in.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:00 PM   #7 
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It's best to never mix aquarium salt with any treatment. The only salt safe to mix with medications in Epsom.

As far as the betta bowl heater, it isn't the most reliable or the safest. It leaves warmer patches and often doesn't do an adequate job of heating. For now though, I think that's your best bet until you can get a bigger tank and better heater.
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