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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I filled out the needed information below. Everything I had at least. I've read so many forums as of late and I really just need help. I am hopeful that everyone respects that now that I'm gaining the knowledge about bettas that I am trying to do what's best for my betta and will leave out the attacks that I've read on other forums. I understand that a 2.5 gallon tank is the smallest acceptable size tank for a betta, but it is acceptable right? And I'm sure many will have something to say about me not having a test kit, but it's just not something I knew about until this tank switch. I am seriously just trying to make sure my betta, Skye, doesn't die, so please help.

When I first purchased Skye she was very small - I'm assuming very young. I had read and was told at the pet store that she could go into the same tank with my other better who was quite a bit larger. Things seemed fine at first but once the two were alone in the tank for an extended period that evening, my older, larger betta must have attacked Skye. A good deal of her fins were gone. I wasn't sure if she was going to make it, but I removed her from that tank and put her in a cup... literally the cup she came in from the pet store. So very small. Over the next several weeks Skye healed and grew stronger and at least doubled in size. She was probably 100% better and at full strength 4-5 months ago if I'm remembering exactly when we got her correctly.

I kept her in the cup though. She seemed to be doing very well. She'd healed so much, grown so much, and was very active in the cup. She sits with me right at my desk every day while I work. She's never turned down food once since I've had her. Well we've grown very close and then this past week she started to get these cotton wispies on her ventral fins. I did a ton of googling and discovered it was cotton fin fungus. The cup is obviously extremely small and I wasn't changing it enough so the food and feces, dirty water = she got the fungus. Once reading up about this I immediately started changing the cup water daily and went and bought betta revive from a local pet store. The water changes along helped, but after one dose of the betta revive the fungus that had been on her fins was more than 50% gone.

At the same time that I noticed the cotton fin, I also saw a white like ball on her belly. It isn't just a spot it's like pertruding a little. Looks like a belly button. From researching, I concluded this was her egg spot. The morning after her first dose of betta revive her belly seemed a little swollen. I googled and couldn't really find a definite answer so I fasted her yesterday and today. I bought the freeze dried bloodworms, and was going to boil and deshell a pea for her to help with constipation. I haven't gotten that far yet because now she's not eating, but don't want to skip ahead.

So, I've been treating the cotton fin and she has improved it's almost totally gone now. Her belly does not appear swollen anymore. She was acting 100% herself this morning. Swimming, active. Oh, and in the meantime of all of this I picked up a new 2.5 gallon tank to switch her into. So today probably like noon I switched her. The water was fresh and had been sitting in the same room as her overnight so it was room temperature. It's tap water so I conditioned it. Using the dosing provided on the bottle. 10 drops per gallon - so I did 23 drops for 2.5 gallon tank. At first she seemed VERY happy. She was swimming ALL around! Seemed to be checking everything out. She seemed hungry too, coming up to the surface and over to the tank side closest to me like she was ready for some food (but we were trying to fast so I didn't feed her). We left for a bit to get her a heater, hiding place and some plants for her tank and were gone for about 2 hours. When I returned, she was floating at the top of the tank, rightside up, all fins tucked in, completely inactive. I tapped the tank because I was afraid she was dead and she didn't move so I dipped my finger in the water near her and she moved. But, after that she just went right back to floating there. She's almost completely inactive except when she lifts her mouth to the surface to get a breath of air. She also isn't eating. We were fasting right, but when she became so inactive I got worried she needed food maybe so I offered her some daphnia. She's never had freeze dried daphnia, but it sounds to me from reading online that they like the variety and it would almost be like a treat compared to her every day pellets. I thought maybe this would entice her. Even if she didn't like the daphnia, she would've at least come after whatever hit the water's surface, especially after fasting yesterday. But she didn't. She didn't even budge when I dropped the daphnia in.

I'm sorry this is so long but I hope you read all the way through and know our story and help me cure my betta. Should I do a 50% water change? I should add the water is a little cloudy looking which is weird because it's completely fresh... I thought maybe it was because of the betta revive? I'm afraid if I mess with her or change her water.. what if she's stressed because of the tank change? I don't want to make it worse and kill her. Should I just leave her be until she acclimates. Is there nothing I can really do until I go get a test kit and test the levels to see if that's the problem?

How many gallons is your tank? 2.5 gallons
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes - just added about 2 hours ago. Betta was in the tank before the heater.
What temperature is your tank? Thermometer is reading 73 degrees Fahrenheit.
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? None

What food brand do you use? Top Fin
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried? Not yet, bought some freeze dried bloodworms by omega one and freeze dried daphnia, mysis, and blood worms by Zoo Med but she hasn't eaten any yet.
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 4-6 pellets once a day

Before your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? once a week
What percentage of water did you change? 100%
What is the source of your water? Tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Prior to new tank there was no substrate. I plan to vacuum going forward as new tank has substrate.
What additives do you use? What brand of conditioner? She currently has Zoo Med Betta H2O water conditioner and Health Aid Betta Revive in her water.

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. Important: Test your water *before* the regular water change; not after one.

Ammonia: I honestly do not know these numbers and do not have a test kit.
Hardness (GH):
Alkalinity (KH):

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? Today, about 2 hours after putting her in the new tank
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Besides her keeping all of her fins tucked down instead of fanning them out her appearance has not changed.
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? She is completely inactive. She is typically very playful, swims around a lot.
Is your Betta still eating? No. I fasted her yesterday due to her belly seeming a little puffy. I offered her daphnia (which she's never had previously) but she was totally uninterested despite not eating yesterday.
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? I've been treating her for the cotton fin. Today was her 3rd dose of Betta Revive.
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Not until this past week. She contracted cotton fin fungus. I've been treating that and she was about 90% better before I switched her to the new environment. I put her Betta Revive for today into the new tank with her.
How long have you owned your Betta? about 7 months
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? Not when purchased but immediately upon bringing her home another fish ripped most of her fins off.

1,343 Posts
first the temp is too low (Temp should be 76-80 degrees. Second when you changed the water did you match the Temp of the tank water when refilling? Third did you use a water conditioner ( Prime or any other conditioner)? If you used just regular tap water with no conditioner You did not remove the chlorine or heavy metals. This in it's self will kill fish very quickly. Forth You need to at least get test strips to see what the water parameters are. And last this young lady seems to have way to many issues in her health. Every time a betta becomes sick with any type of problems their immune system is greatly affected. As with any type of medication with fish it could either cure them or kill them because of how far the problem has gone and how reduced the immune system has become.

25 Posts
The cloudy water is common to new tanks, ideally the tank should've been cycled (min 2 weeks) before adding any fish.

If your water is confirmed that it is dechlorinated you could possibly do a partial water change using water from your existing tank.

Also possibly take the sponge (do not clean it) from your existing tank's filter & put it inside your new filter, introducing beneficial bacteria into your new tank.

231 Posts
In the meantime, if you live near a pet store (like petsmart or petco) and you take some of your water in, they will test it for you for free. Just make sure to ask what the specific levels are, not just if they are safe. You conditioned the water, which is good, and though it was definitely too cold, that shouldn't have caused the drastic change. Since its new water and isn't cycled, it could very well be an ammonia spike. Or, since she was in that cup for so long with what sounded like not very many water changes, it could just be because she was around ammonia for an extended amount of time and you're just seeing the damage now.
You said she was a bit bloated, if you look at her from the top, do her scales look like they are sticking out? A little like a pinecone? It would help if you could provide some pictures. Bettas can develop dropsy, which is basically kidney failure, after an extended amount of time with bad water conditions.

What is she doing now? Is she having trouble swimming to the surface or swimming down? The best thing you can do for her now is to keep your water as clean as possible. You said you did just buy a heater, right? That should help as well as it was definitely too cold before. As for whether you should do a water change right now....hmm...I think that would be good though you may very well stress her out. If you have an ammonia spike you definitely need to get the ammonia levels down, so I think at least a 50% water change now would be good. Its hard to tell since you don't know your ammonia levels or if you have nitrites in there yet. I would say keep doing 40% water changes every other day though. Sounds like she may be quite sick, and could just have some underlying issues that are finally coming to the surface, so she may not make it through this.

A 2.5 gallon is fine, they just require a bit more upkeep than bigger tanks as the water gets soiled faster. 2.5 gallons is definitely much better then the tiny cup they come in. Also, a thought, you started dosing revive before you got the bigger tank while she was still in the cup, right? I think revive is supposed to be a drop per 16 oz of water, and I'm pretty sure those cups are much smaller than that in regards to how much water they hold. It could very well be that you overdosed on the medication, which definitely could have made her sicker.
Best of luck, I hope she can survive! I am glad you are reaching out and asking for help, some may not even do that.

Premium Member
2,926 Posts
Welcome to the forum. I'm sorry that your betta is not doing well.

O.K. first off the cup you were keeping her in. How often were you doing water changes on it before you noticed her health problems and started doing them every day? I'm asking because in addition to fungus, and bacterial infections, not doing water changes every day if not 2x a day on the cups will lead to ammonia and nitrate poisoning. It basically burns their gills. That may be part of the problem that you are seeing.

Next, how much of the Betta Revive were you using? The dosage is 1 drop per 16 oz (2cups) and the cups the betta come in are generally 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water. You may have been overdosing her and some of what you are seeing now is an end result of that.

Did you clean your new tank, and if so what did you use to clean it with?

How strong is the filter? I'm assuming that it came with the tank and way to many of those filters are too strong for betta and will stress them out.

What I would do for her is get some Methylene Blue, since you said that the fungus was almost gone and not gone, MB treats fungus along with nitrite and ammonia poisoning.

Super Moderator
22,919 Posts
You have quite a conundrum and one with no easy answer.

1. indjo could well be correct that there was something in the new tank. To be safe, I would rinse it out real well in hot water. Refill, set up the filter and heater and get the tank to at least 77 degrees.

2. Float Skye in her cup in the tank so she benefits from the warmth.

3. Even though you feel guilty because she developed a fungus, you should not. We all start out somewhere and most of us were ill-informed. You did what you thought was right and that is all that any of us can do. While 77+ may be the optimum temperatures for Betta, as long as it does not go below 72 it is acceptable. Now that you know the repercussions of lower temps you are trying to remedy that with a heater and for that I commend you.

4. A 2.5 gallon is a fine size. I have one, myself. Tank size is based more on what people think than what they know and is strictly a matter of opinion. The advantage to larger tanks is it is easier to maintain stable parameters. And larger tanks need fewer water changes, too. My 2.5 gets a weekly 25% water change and vacuum.

5. If you can, buy some frozen Bloodworms and see if you can tempt her with those. Your other fish/Betta will appreciate them as a treat, too.

Good luck with Skye. I hope she recovers for you as I know she has become quite special.

Almost forgot: If you use Methylene Blue, do not use it in the 2.5 gallon as MB can stain.
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