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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am concerned about my betta as it seems he is loosing color and now appears to have some scales missing (by gill area). Not much has changed from his normal routine. Ever since I noticed this issue and have been monitoring him more closely I have felt that his aquarium filter is a little less strong than when we first bought it, but that’s about it. Last week I rinsed out the filter to make sure it wasn’t clogged using declorinated water and being careful not to over clean it as to not disrupt the tank. Hoping this didn’t make things worse 😕 I did try using aquarium salt when I noticed his fading a few weeks ago, and it seemed to work. However, now a couple weeks later it looks like it has come back and is now worse than before. What could be causing this? I do believe comparing some old pictures that he might have some fin rot, but I don’t know what the white scales are or how to treat them. Any help is appreciated.
Since Wednesday I have started using bettafix and added Indian almond leaves to his tank. There is also 1 tablespoon aquarium salt in his tank. I have see no improvements to his appearance, However he continues eating swimming and acting quite normal.

Housing:
How many gallons is your tank? 5
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What temperature is your tank? 81 degrees
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? No
Does your Betta have tank mates? What kind? No

Food:
What food brand do you use? Fluval Bug bites and northfin bits
Do you feed flakes or pellets? Pellets
Freeze-dried?
How often do you feed your Betta? How much? 10 pellets a day or equivalent amount with bug bites

Maintenance:
Before
your Betta became ill how often did you perform a water change? Once every 7-10 days
What percentage of water did you change? 30-40 percent
What is the source of your water? Tap
Do you vacuum the substrate or just dip out water? Both
What additives do you use other than conditioner? What brand of conditioner? Seachem prime

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: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: Between 0-20 (? Using testing strips it’s a little hard to tell)
pH: 7.5
Hardness (GH): 180
Alkalinity (KH): 180

Symptoms and Treatment:
When did you first notice the symptoms? 3 weeks ago
How has your Betta’s appearance changed? Betta is starting to look faded in color, now seems to have scales missing
How has your Betta’s behavior changed? Not much, still swimming normally
Is your Betta still eating? Yes, but was spitting out his food a lot more than usual
Have you started treating your Betta? If so, how? Yes, with 1 tablespoon aquarium salt, bettafix started 2 days ago and added Indian almond leaves to his tank
Does your Betta have any history of being ill? Yes, successfully helped recover from ick soon after we first bought him
How long have you owned your Betta? One year
Was he or she ill or suffering some sort of damage when purchased? No

Picture of him when heathy:
Fin Underwater Fish Marine biology Water



Picture of him today:
 

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He is extremely thin. :( For reference, a fish in good weight looks like the photo below. A smooth, even transition from head to base of caudal.
Head Eye Fin Underwater Koi

10-12 pellets per day are fine if evenly spread over several meals. Three pellets 4 x per day would work.

The important thing is to get him eating. Frozen Bloodworms (not freeze dried) are fatty and as such not good as a staple. However, as ailing Betta with poor appetite are an exception. If he were mine I would feed him a 1-2 Bloodworms 2 x per day and two meals of three pellets. If he won't eat the pellets but will eat the Bloodworms, add a second frozen food. Mine like Brine Shrimp. I prefer cubes to slabs. Shave a bit off, return rest to freezer and store leftovers in a small pill bottle n the refrigerator for no more than three days.

Hoping getting some food into him and his weight up will help him start recovering.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He is extremely thin. :( For reference, a fish in good weight looks like the photo below. A smooth, even transition from head to base of caudal.
View attachment 1044749
10-12 pellets per day are fine if evenly spread over several meals. Three pellets 4 x per day would work.

The important thing is to get him eating. Frozen Bloodworms (not freeze dried) are fatty and as such not good as a staple. However, as ailing Betta with poor appetite are an exception. If he were mine I would feed him a 1-2 Bloodworms 2 x per day and two meals of three pellets. If he won't eat the pellets but will eat the Bloodworms, add a second frozen food. Mine like Brine Shrimp. I prefer cubes to slabs. Shave a bit off, return rest to freezer and store leftovers in a small pill bottle n the refrigerator for no more than three days.

Hoping getting some food into him and his weight up will help him start recovering.
Thank you for the advice. Good news is that his appetite is great. He ate 12 pellets today no problem.

I am just really really concerned about the white patch has on one side and loss of color over all. It’s doesn’t look normal but I don’t want to medicate if not necessary, especially because I don’t know what is wrong.
He continues acting normal but looks terrible.
 

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I believe it's part of his color fade. Take weekly photos from above so you can chart his progress. I'd still add frozen Bloodworms to his diet to help jump start weight gain. He may be swimming funny because of a loss of muscle mass.

It probably would hurt to dose him with API General Cure should he have an internal parasite.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok…I think I stressed my betta out with all the different things I’ve tried to help him. He was very finicky with eating and more lethargic yesterday and today he doesn’t want to eat at all.

I picked up some frozen bloodworms but he did not want to eat it (I fed it with aquariums tweeezers). I started first dose of API general cure today.

Question about airstones…some things I read were suggesting to add a small one when using medications. I have one. Should I use it? My filter is pretty weak tbh.
 

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What all have you done? The Aquarium Salt and Bettafix wouldn't hurt him; neither would the IAL. Bettafix, however, is very mild; more like giving someone aspirin who has a migraine. Some claim the "fix" meds are harmful to labyrinth fish because they contain oil which coats the labyrinth organ. However, the oils have been refined to be water soluble and all reports of damage seem to be anecdotal Melafix Dangers; Betta, Labyrinth Fish, Pencil Fish.

Lack of nutrition often impacts internal organs, brings loss of muscle and causes stress which impacts the immune system. The longer treatment is delayed the less chance there is for recovery. All one can do hope it's not too late and try to get weight on the Betta so it has reserves to fight whatever else might be going on..

Don't forget you only dose General Cure again after 48 hours.

I don't see why you couldn't use an air stone as long as it's on pretty low.

Am tagging others who might have more ideas. @Feanor @BettaloverSara @Rose of sharon @KatieMR
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What all have you done? The Aquarium Salt and Bettafix wouldn't hurt him; neither would the IAL. Bettafix, however, is very mild; more like giving someone aspirin who has a migraine. Some claim the "fix" meds are harmful to labyrinth fish because they contain oil which coats the labyrinth organ. However, the oils have been refined to be water soluble and all reports of damage seem to be anecdotal Melafix Dangers; Betta, Labyrinth Fish, Pencil Fish.

Lack of nutrition often impacts internal organs, brings loss of muscle and causes stress which impacts the immune system. The longer treatment is delayed the less chance there is for recovery. All one can do hope it's not too late and try to get weight on the Betta so it has reserves to fight whatever else might be going on..

Don't forget you only dose General Cure again after 48 hours.

I don't see why you couldn't use an air stone as long as it's on pretty low.

Am tagging others who might have more ideas. @Feanor @BettaloverSara @Rose of sharon @KatieMR
Thanks for all your advice and help! Really hoping my little guy pulls through.
One thing that’s been pointed out to me is that my water parameters might show that my cycle has been shot… Honestly I test my water parameters pretty regularly and I’ve never seen nitrates in my tank. It’s always zero across-the-board (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates). I don’t know if that’s impacting his health as well.
I have been doing water changes every day since last Tuesday when I first noticed him off. And checking my water parameters every day. Always the same zero, zero, zero.

Oh also point out that in January I posted a concern regarding some stringy poop and some suggested to watch for parasites back then… Don’t know how long parasites can live in the fish without killing him but I’m hoping I’m taking the right course of treatment based on history as well.
 

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The parameters you posted are good. Under 15 ppm Nitrates is better and 10 ppm is best. However, 20 isn't going to cause any issues. Everything I've researched indicates fish must be exposed to high Nitrates for weeks for them to have an impact.So please don't blame or second-guess yourself.

As an aside, this study https://www.golias.net/akvaristika/docs/Nitrate toxicity to aquatic animals.pdf found Nitrates were raised to 200 ppm before they became lethal to Guppy fry. And, yes, I read the whole darned thing. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The parameters you posted are good. Under 15 ppm Nitrates is better and 10 ppm is best. However, 20 isn't going to cause any issues. Everything I've researched indicates fish must be exposed to high Nitrates for weeks for them to have an impact.So please don't blame or second-guess yourself.

As an aside, this study https://www.golias.net/akvaristika/docs/Nitrate toxicity to aquatic animals.pdf found Nitrates were raised to 200 ppm before they became lethal to Guppy fry. And, yes, I read the whole darned thing. :)
Thank you for the reassuring info!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I’m back with another question! My little guy is still on the decline. It’s been over 24 hours since I’ve started the api general cure and there has been absolutely no progress. In fact he is now more lethargic, only comes up for air once every couple hours and darts back down, and has not eaten since yesterday morning. Any feedback on how long until you typically see some progress from the medication?

I also might be really overthinking this but just want to make sure this is not an early sign of pineconing?


Terrestrial animal Reptile Terrestrial plant Tail Fish

Beak Leaf Bird Plant Organism
 

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Sadly, we can't see the internal damage that occurs when fish do not get proper nutrition. I'm afraid this may be the case with your boy. I found a study which reported something I didn't know: They lose the feeding reaction.

Once reason I suggested the General Cure is internal parasites can cause weight loss.

I'm worried this may be the end of life. All you can do is keep trying.
 
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