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39 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I noticed the other day that one of my boys seemed to have a float bladder issue, in addition to tail bitting, so I pulled him from his tank and placed him in a 1gallon hospital tank and procedded to treat him for constipation. The standard fast for 2-3 days, a bit of epson salt. Well on day 2 I woke up and I thought the was dead, laying on the bottom of the hospital tank on his side lifeless.

I wasn't sure what to do (as I thought I was still dealing with float bladder and maybe thought he needed something in belly) I gave him some brine shrimp. And he was fine! He spent all yesterday swimming around his small tank happy as a clam, but once again this morning he was on his side at the bottom of the tank half dead looking.

I googled 'wasting illness', because I just my other dragon scale to something similar (which I thought was a very bad bladder infection but I'm second guessing myself now) and I did not want to go through that again (just weeks of trying to keep him alive, trying to feed him and medicating him slightly)! Well can you imagine my shock and horror when TB was the first thing to pop up!!

He does have a few of the symptoms,

Pale scales
A small red lump on the top of his head
A tail that looks like it's been bitten (I considered fin rot but it doesn't look like that to me)
And of course the laying on the bottom of his tank

But so far he (like my other guy who didn't make it) does not have

Scales falling off
A bent spine
Concave belly (I'm iffy on this one because he looks extremely thin!)

If it is TB I'm very concerned because all the googling I've done says I will need to dispose of the gravel, fake plants and even the other tank mates. I have a divided 10 gallon (sponge filter/heated), with another Betta (who's doing great! I'm never buying from PetCo again! All the ones I've gotten from PetCo in Maryland have brought home some horror!) my other Betta and one snail have never come into contact with my sick betta, but my gold snail lives on his side of the tanks.

Please can someone tell me what to do. I'm losing my mind over here! I've been in Maryland for less than a year and I've lost five fish! All to deseases I've never even heard of back in Hawaii (where I still have three healthy bettas, and have a history of caring for them just fine! My hair is gonna grey because of this)

Also side note: this current sick fish and the one who passed never made contact, they were never even shared a tank! The one who died was always kept in his 2 gal and this other one has always been in my 10 gal

39 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
How many gallons is your tank?
10 gallon.

Does it have a filter?
Yes. Sponge filter.

Does it have a heater?

What temperature is your tank?
With the heater alone 76. On very sunny day my room heats up and the tank can get up to 79, but very rarely does that happen.

Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Umm in the filter.

Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind?
It's a divided tank, on the sick fish's side there is one mystery snail. On the other side there is another Betta and another mystery snail.

What food brand do you use?
Sakura Gold, Fighting Fish formula. My snails are given algae wafers, the Kyorin brand (the sick fish has been known to eat them, in fact thats the reason I thought he had constipation!). Once in a while I feed San Fransisco Bay Bran frozen Brine Shrimp.

Do you feed flakes or pellets?


How often do you feed your Betta?
One per day, and I fast them every Thursday.

How much?
Between 3-5 pellets.

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change?
Quarter to half water changes every other week. A full over haul once a month.
What percentage of water did you change?
Quarter to half (every two weeks). All of it once a month.

Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water?

What additives do you use?
API Tap Water Conditioner. Once after the complete water changes I'll use the API stress coat +.

Water Parameters:
What are your water parameters? Please give exact numbers. If tested by pet store please get exact numbers. "Fine" or "Safe" won't help us help you.

Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

I do not own a test kit.

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms?
About four days ago.

How has your Betta’s appearance changed?
Yes. He is much paler than usual, and his tail has been shredded.

How has your Betta’s behavior changed?
Yes he is normal very active, he is much more docile now.

Is your Betta still eating?
Yes. He is refusing pellets, but he will ear the brine shrimp.

Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how?
I thought he was constipated. So pulled him out of the big tank, added Epsom salt to the water and fasted him for about a day and a half before finding him nearly dead at the bottom of the hospital tank. I also added a few drop (less than recommend dose) of API BettaFin for his tail.

Does your Betta have any history of being ill?
Sorta. I bought him from PetCo (��) because I thought he was missing his right pectoral fin and was sure he would not survive at the store. I brought him home and found him to be an incredibly weak swimmer, I treated him with API BettaFin, and to my surprise I found that he did in fact have a fin but it had either been torn while in transit, by another betta or was a birth related issue (or he could have done it himself, but idk if that's even possible). He may also be a tail bitter but I have no caught him in the act but his tail hasn't grown much. He is also very thin, his body itself had not grown much, while my other betta is a little 'beefy' looking.

How long have you owned your Betta? Was he or she a rescue?
Since November 10, 2015, so about three months.

In addition I'd like to add he is not overly aggressive, I've never even seen him flare (but given the condition I bought him in I'm not sure he can). He is also a 'digger' and like to up root my fake plants, he has gone after the snail when it first went into the tank (at about Christmas time 2015), but has since stopped. He normally a very happy fish and 'dances' when he sees me. Since yesterday and today once I feed him some brine shrimp he is once again active and 'swimmy' however each morning I find him at the bottom of the tank nearly dead look, very thin looking and pale and there are 'in between' moments where he just sits at the bottom unmoving, most of the time he is straight up and down but I've seen him listing to his side. I've got no idea how to post photos.

39 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
This is what he looks like this morning. Please can someone help me! This is the exact same thing that happened with my other Betta!! Please


203 Posts
I'm replying to so many threads in here ah god lmao. Someone's probably thinking I have no life.

I would not leave him in a tank with epsom salts. Epsom salts act as a laxative, and should only be used for giving salt dips or baths. Use AQ salt in your tank and epsom salts for the dips/baths.

If you've treated for SBD we can cross that off the list, usually that clears up after a fast/pea etc.

You stated loss of color/pale and lethargic. The red bump on his head has me wondering....

Anyway, change his epsom salt water, if you don't have Tetra Lifeguard, pick some up and give it a go. It will treat a wide variety of things. If he's in a 1 gallon hospital tank, use 1 tab and break it into 5 pieces and put 1 piece in once a day. On the 6th day change 50-75% of his water. If he's still eating, soak his pellets in garlic juice before feeding him, just in case there is a parasite problem, although it doesn't sound like there is.

Premium Member
22,700 Posts
He definitely does not have TB, it's such a rare occurrence. The red bump could be lack of oxygen in the blood or Hemorrhagic Septicemia--though we'd see more blood streaks in his fins likely.

BTW, the pale scales is just his coloration, it has nothing to do with TB.

Also, in the photos, I can't tell if it's just the glass or the lighting or what. At his peduncle (end of body where the tail starts), is there any fluffy substance there or was there in the past?
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