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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My betta fish has a red sore it looks like on one side of his body. I just recently moved him from a 5.5 gallon tank to a 10 gallon. I am completely inexperienced and the place I got him from was petco. They did not give me nearly enough information about how to care for my betta or how to cycle a tank. I had no idea I had to cycle a tank before adding fish. I did 2 days later go out and buy API quick start and Stress coat in hopes that it would help. I also recently added 3 Cory catfish to the tank. I have noticed that the Cory cats are not afraid of my betta and my betta is not aggressive at all. But I do notice they bump into him often and he’s grown unhappy. I was told that it was a safe and even good option to add the Cory cats to my tank to keep it cleaner. I did not have a testing kit for the water so I went and bought a master test kit. I thought maybe it was the water that caused this sore on him. But now the aquarium “specialist” at petco told me that it’s the Cory cats picking on my betta which I had no idea was possible and causing him to lose his scales in that area. I started bettafix on him while he was in the 10 gallon tank but it seemed to not be working. I caught him yesterday hitting himself against the decor and substrate in the tank. I panicked and set up a hospital tank bc I have many small left over aquariums. It currently has a heater and air pump for oxygen since I am still using the bettafix. And he has a place to hide. I’m really worried bc my tank water seems to be normal. Could it really be the catfish? I’ve never had problems with my betta until I added the catfish. Either way he will he permanently in another tank if he recovers. Please help
Leaf Organism Terrestrial plant Feather Grass

Beak Fish Wood Feather Terrestrial plant
This was him 3 days ago when I first noticed the red mark
Liquid Organism Aquatic plant Marine biology Art

Light Green Petal Plant Purple

Organism Underwater Plant Aquatic plant Fish

this is him now.
Liquid Fluid Font Medical equipment Paint

Fluid Font Liquid Solvent Solution

Liquid Medical equipment Fluid Plastic bottle Solution

Hand Eyebrow Medical equipment Eyelash Fluid
These are the water tests I did today.
 

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Hi!

He is a very beautiful boy!!! So sorry about the issues that you are having!

What kind of corys do you have? It's not like them to be so aggressive, but then I don't have a lot of experience with them. Usually, when there is a problem, it's the other way around - the betta attacking the corys.

First I would stop using bettafix. It really isn't all that great. It contains tea tree oil, and that can affect the betta's labyrinth organ, which is located near his gills and is used for breathing. Big chain pet stores sell this stuff, along with melafix, and both are not really good for bettas.

Since you have him in a separate tank, I would do small water changes (like 25%) every other day to keep his water pristine. I would also add some Indian almond leaves. The tannins that are released in the tank will tint the water brown, but they really help in the healing process. And bettas love tannins; he will thrive in a tank with tannins.

Adding aquarium salt for a short while might also help with healing. If you decide to do this, follow the instructions on the package. Be careful when adding more after water changes, as the only way to remove aquarium salt is by doing water changes. You wouldn't want to add too much on top of what is already there, as you could accidentally over dose. It is best not to use aquarium salt for more than 2 weeks because over use will make it ineffective.

As long as you are staying on top of his water parameters, and changing the water when ammonia and nitrites are present, his tank will cycle. I would invest in some Prime conditioner by Seachem. It is the best water conditioner that I have found, and it will hold the toxicity of the ammonia and nitrites, as well as dechlorinate. It is highly recommended, especially when cycling tanks.

I do hope he gets better! He really is a very beautiful fish!!! :)
 

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~Neo (♂ betta) ~Lucy (♀ platy) ~Andromeda (♀ molly) ~Otto (♂ oto catfish) ~Archibald ( ♂ mys. snail)
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Hello and welcome to the forum! Congrats on your new betta!

A couple things right off the bat. If you're using meds make sure you have a HOB carbon filter. (HOB = Hang On Back... Basically a normal filter that's not a sponge filter.) Meds in no filtered tanks is overall not a good thing. So if you don't have a filter for it, you'll want to get one asap. Also, most HOB filters have carbon cartridges and should say so right on the box.

Two, while I've never owned Cory catfish myself, I know a little about them in general and I've personally never heard of them bullying another fish. Cories are very peaceful non-aggressive fish. If it is a bite, it's totally on accident, which is unlikely. I've never seen my catfish bite another fish unless one was already dead. It's more likey that the wound came from something in the tank. Check all your decor, see if there's anything that could be rough or sharp for a betta. Also, most plastic plants will tear up a betta's fins. If you can get ahold of panty hose, run it over the decor and if it snags, it'll rip the fins. Silk plants are a great alternative if you're not ready for live plants yet.

The wound may have been caused by his rubbing behavior. There are a variety of reasons why a betta would do that. Stress, parasites, poor water conditions, etc. Also, it sounds like you may not have been conditioning the water until recently when you bought the API Stress Coat? It's essential to condition the water because it neutralizes the chlorine in the water - assuming you're using tap water. It's possible it could be a burn of sorts from the chlorine. If you didn't know about the importance of conditioner, shame on Petco. Unfortunately there's a lot of bad and incorrect and even harmful information that comes from these "specialists" at these pet stores.

One very important thing to remember for next time, meds should really never be used unless you have a positive diagnosis of the ailment and no other treatment is working. Meds should only be used as a last resort because they are very harsh on a betta and can often lead to more problems. Especially with a brand new betta who is already likely experiencing stress from the enormous move from those tiny plastic cups they're kept in to a real tank and new environment. I know you probably didn't know any of this, and it's hard to do research on it yourself because these "specialists" are going to recommend you the meds because that's what they were told (and they're no more a specialist than you are most likely) not for the good of the fish but for the good of the company and making money.

For the vast majority of wounds, bacterial and fungal infections, you'll want to look for Indian almond leaves (IAL) or rooibos tea. They produce tannins that will turn your tank water a dark tea color when there's enough in the tank, but they have amazing antibacterial and antifungal properties. They're 100% safe for your betta, and they also have soothing properties for your betta and many other fish as well. Many fish keepers will use IAL all the time, even when nothing is wrong with their fish, both as a preventative measure against infections and as a constant soothing agent in their tank. But to my knowledge, many chain pet stores like Petco and PetSmart don't carry those items. (Go figure, huh?) You can order them off Amazon or eBay, or if you have a local pet store that's not a chain you might find some there. I may have heard that a chain sells rooibos tea recently but I'm not sure which chain that was.

Also about cycling, you can actually do something called a fish-in cycle. You don't HAVE to cycle your tank before you get your fish. I do fish-in cycles all the time with 100% success. But you absolutely need a filter if you don't already have one. A lot of people use sponge filters, they have a lot of benefits as opposed to the carbon HOB. But the one thing that HOB has on the sponge filters is filtering out meds... And unfortunately tannins.

Oh, before I forget, there's something super important to remember. The directions on the filter box about changing the filter cartridge... Ignore it. It's another lie to get you to spend more money. They suggest you change the cartridge every month but that will actually be detrimental to your nitrogen cycle. All the good bacteria that help to stabilize your tank live on that cartridge and spread to other surfaces in your tank. It's better to simply rinse your cartridge out whenever it gets icky (in non chlorinated water, preferably a bit of tank water) wipe out the filter if needed, and put the cartridge back in. You only change the cartridge when it's so worn out it's falling apart.

The main key to a fish-in cycle is keeping your tank and water in pristine condition. I'd suggest every day to every other day for a couple weeks or so to go with a brand new turkey baster that's never been exposed to soap, or a siphon if you prefer, and suck up any poops and leftover uneaten food you find. The less of that there is, the less anything will rot and surge the ammonia levels. Plus roughly a 25% water change probably every other day. Once the cycle is complete, after about two or three weeks, you should be able to safely do a 25% water change every week. You can also invest in Bottled Bacteria. You can find that on Amazon etc as well. That'll help kick start things while you're waiting for the cycle to complete. I've been able to make do without the bottled bacteria, but considering your beautiful boy is injured, it might be a good idea for you to look into it.

Also there might be a problem using IAL or rooibos tea in an uncycled tank, considering you've already used meds and you'll need a carbon filter to filter the meds from the water. Carbon filters will also filter out the tannins from the tea or leaves. Someone else may be able to come up with ideas of what to do.

But unfortunately I'm running out of time and have to wrap it up. I feel like I'm forgetting something important but if I remember I'll add it. There is a thread somewhere on this forum about different ways to cycle a tank, including fish-in, but unfortunately I don't have the time now to look for it. But it's worth a read if you find it or someone links it! I know it's a lot of information but learning is all a part of the process. Ask the forum anything you'd like to know. There are tons of people here willing and happy to help you grow as a betta owner. (Diet is also a very important topic you might want to research. I wouldn't be surprised if those "specialists" pointed you to an awful type of food. Feel free to ask! Seriously ask us anything! And share your experiences and what you've learned so you could help others too! 😊 )

I hope this helps and wasn't too overwhelming. I'm sorry you were given so little and such unhelpful information by the specialists. It's just not fair. I hope your beautiful boy gets better! And welcome again to the forum!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much for your response. Unfortunately I do not have any filters that are from my old tank since it was time to change it according to the package. So that is a bummer but I do have new ones. I was told to not put them in the tank with my fish as long as I was medicating with the bettafix. I started the betta fix while he was still in the 10 gallon tank. I noticed he seemed more stressed and completely stopped eating so after I was told it was the Cory cats causing it I removed him from the tank and did my best to set up a “hospital” tank just based off what I could find online since I clearly did not have a reliable source for information. I will immediately stop using the bettafix I was also just about to set up a sponge filter just so that the medicine wouldn’t get sucked away by a carbon filter lol ugh. But since he is in a 3 gallon tank is it possible I could flush out the medicine with 2 50% water changes .I ordered the IAL on Amazon but they won’t arrive for two days. I’m asking because I don’t have another filter on hand and my plan was to use the sponge filter. If not I will try my best to get another filter ASAP.

I have not been conditioning the water because I only recently started using tap water. I was using their Imagitarium “ready to use” water at petco for my betta. I also was told I could use spring water so I would fill his tank with that when I ran out. I also only have live plants in my tank which I’ve seemed to have problems with a brown algae substance growing on them that I have to wash off all the time. The “specialist” at petco told me that it’s probably because when I bought the plant, there was algae already on it (go figure) I really do not like that place and they’ve been nothing but unhelpful.

I feel much better now about cycling my tank since I now have the testing kit for my water I didn’t have before. I actually tested my bettas hospital tank last night because I noticed he seemed more lethargic and this is completely my fault because I tried to feed him earlier that day and he didn’t eat any so the ammonia in my tank spiked. So at 4 am this morning I jumped to do a water change. I’m really trying to keep my betta alive. I’ve done countless amounts of research and trying to figure out the best options for him. I’ve been recommended all kinds of antibiotics and etc. but I definitely feel more comfortable trying the leaves first.

I also didn’t know if the hospital tank I have him in needed to be cycled either. I just kind of panicked and wanted to remove him from the Cory cats. And also medicate him easier. since it’s only temporary until he gets well do I need to start to try to cycle the tank? I have a 5.5 gallon I wanted to house him in when he got well.

thank you all the information is extremely helpfu, I would like to get into the subject of his diet soon also. I’m just feeding him fish flakes only. which now I doubt is ideal.
 

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Hi again,

I don't mean to cut in, but if you do the every other day water changes, and do like @SammiDraco recommended about getting a turkey baster to suck up the poo, then I don't think that you would need to do a cycle for the hospital tank since your betta won't be in that tank long term. I again recommend getting Prime water conditioner. Petco usually carries it, unless they are out at the moment, along with most local fish stores or Petsmart. I order mine from Amazon. As long as he has a heater in the hospital tank, and maybe a small air stone for circulation, he will be good.

I would also stick to one type of water - either the spring water (or what they call betta water at those stores) or the tap. Spring water parameters will be very different from the tap, and the changes in those levels can cause undue stress for your fin baby. He will adjust to which ever one you decide to use. (I personally use spring water in gallon jugs that I get from my local grocery store because our tap water has issues...lol!).

If have always used HOB filters on my betta tanks, but I know that a lot of people use sponge filters. After a while, the filter cartridge will not filter out tank additives, like the tannins from Indian almond leaves. Right now, I have the same cartridge in my HOB that I put in a year ago when I set up the tank, and I am sure that it houses a ton of beneficial bacteria. So whichever you decide to use will be fine, as long as the outflow of the water on an HOB isn't too strong.

I am attaching a pic of one of my tanks that shows what Indian almond leaves will make your water look like. You can make it as dark or as light as you want, but the benefits are really unquestionable for bettas!

As for food, bettas like varied diets. A really good pellet can be a staple food supplimented with frozen or even live food. Some really good pellets are Hakari bio gold (my local Wal-Mart carries these in the pet section), New Life Spectrum, Omega One Betta Buffet, North Fin Betta Pellets, and also Fluval Bug Bites for bettas (I use the slow sinking granules). They usually love frozen brine shrimp or frozen blood worms. Frozen daphnia is also important in that it acts like a natural laxative, so feeding that once a week or so could prevent bloating problems. I would stay away from freeze dried bloodworms for sure, and use the flakes sparingly. They can lead to bloating issues.

Organism Fish supply Pet supply Water Fish
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much for your help. I do have a gravel suction cleaner that I use to change the water and clean the tank of the fish food and waste. And I do have the API water conditioner right now but I will get the conditioner you recommended. I did not know that the different waters would be affecting my fish. But I am now only using tap water. And as for getting rid of the bettafix in the water since I do not have a HOB filter only a sponge. Would the 50% water changes twice since it’s only 3 gallons make it to where I could use the sponge filter with the IAL?

and as for the food I only have Aqueon betta food pellets. I strayed away from the pellets bc I was told that they expand in their stomach. I do have freeze dried bloodworms but he didn’t like them anyways so they’ve just been sitting there and will now be thrown away lol. Are these pellets as good as the ones you recommended? And I will definitely have to look into the frozen shrimp and worms.
 

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The water changes will get rid of the bettafix, so you should be good with the amount that you have already done. I think that using the sponge filter will be fine. If you do water changes, it will remove some of the tannins. When you see the water getting really light brown, just add a new leaf. It will be fine!

Using tap water is great. He has probably already adjusted. It looks like your tap ph is around the 6.8 range. With the spring water, it was probably around 7.6. Large changes in ph can harm fish. That's why it is important to keep it stable. But he seems to have adjusted to it with no problem.

Aqueron is what I think I started with, too. If you look at the breakdown of the ingredients, you will see that it has something like 38% crude protein. and fish meal, soy products and fillers. If it is compared to omega one for example, Omega One has 42% protein and none of those extra fillers. If you can find something with more protein, and little or no soybean or fillers, that is a better food. And the frozen food will be all natural, of course.

So it's not an emergency or anything, just something to move towards when you have a chance to get some more betta food.

Keep us updated on his progress, and if you have more questions, please post them! :)
 

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One more quick thing to mention. About the algae, unfortunately it comes with the territory even without live plants. With them you will definitely have algae much faster, and algae is actually a pretty good thing, though unsightly. It means your tank is evolving into a more stable environment. Of course you can always wipe it off. The catfish are usually really good at keeping it from getting out of control, but you can add a nerite or mystery snail or two as well to help. Ramshorns are good too but they reproduce like crazy. Different types of shrimp too although they'll reproduce as well. But there are options. Whatever you do, don't purchase chemicals to rid your tank of algae.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update on my betta.
I got the IAL yesterday and I added them as soon as they came. It said to add one per gallon so I added 3 but ended up adding another because I don’t really see a difference in the water and I’m not sure if they’re working. I went ahead and ordered a different kind than the one I purchased to see if maybe those would work better buy they don’t come in until tomorrow. He still seems very weak but I’ve gotten him to eat one or two flakes since yesterday. I’m still doing water changes and etc. should I try to add more leaves since they are small?

Hand Feather Textile Nail Finger

here is what he looks like today
Blue Textile Art Wood Room
 

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Poor baby! It's going to take a little while for him to heal, I think.

I know that you are keeping a close eye on him.

Usually, after about 24 hours from the time that I add leaves to my tank, I will really see the brown tint.

If you want to try something, you can put a few in a pot, and boil them to see if they will release some tannins. If so, let the water cool, and then you can add the brown water to your tank.

I have used Sungrow brand before, but it did seem like I had to use a lot before I saw really good tannins released into the tank. For what it's worth, the brand that I use is called Fancyte, and I get it from Amazon. The leaves are huge, but I cut them to the size that I like, or I just leave them whole.

I just love yellow bettas - they are my absolute favorite! I hope he bounces back soon!!!!!
 
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