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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so Breakfast has been looking rather poor lately. We went out of town last weekend, and he was fine last Friday before we left. When I went to feed him Monday morning, his left eye had one of the worst cases of popeye I have ever seen on a betta. He kind of looks like Quasimodo... Also, months ago, he had a bit of his tail ripped off by the filter intake, which was set too high. It never fully grew back, but now it's showing signs of fin rot. Additionally, the scales on and around his head are raised, but he's not bloated, so I don't think it's dropsy... Also, he's still eating, so...


What size is your tank? 1.5 gallons
What temperature is your tank? about 75○ F
Does your tank have a filter? Yes
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? no...
Is your tank heated? nope...
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? He's alone.

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Aqua Culture Betta Pellet Food, Color-Enhancing, and occasionally Tetra Freeze-dried Bloodworms.
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2-3 times weekly.


How often do you perform a water change? Every 2 weeks
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 25%-50%, and then occasionally a full water change.
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Typically only "AquaSafe" water conditioner.

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters?

Ammonia: n/a
Nitrite: n/a
Nitrate: n/a
pH: 6.7
Hardness: n/a
Alkalinity: n/a

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Well, the most noticeable thing is his left eye, which has swollen to about 4x larger than normal and is pinkish-tinged and cloudy. The scales on and around his head appear to be raised, and his body scales have become dull and less colorful. His tail fin, which was damaged by the filter when I first got him, has never fully healed and is showing signs of fin rot. Also, he is NOT bloated.
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? He is hiding/being more secluded than usual, and spends a lot of his time resting on the bottom of the tank or in his little shelter thing. He also seems to be piping more frequently. Also, even though he is generally more reclusive, he will have infrequent moments where he seems to suddenly become energetic and will swim around.
When did you start noticing the symptoms? This Monday morning, so... Feb. 20, 2012.
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? Started him off with Jungle brand Fungus Clear, after reading that it can help popeye. Performed a full water change the next day, and totally sterilized all of his tank equipment/accessories. Now I've been dosing him with Melafix daily, just 1/10 tsp.
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not that I'm aware of.
How old is your fish (approximately)? Well, I bought him at Walmart in February 2011... so I've had him for a year.

I'm really just hoping it isn't something like tuberculosis. Does anyone know what might be wrong with him? I know that raised scales typically indicate dropsy, but he's not bloated at all, and he's still eating.

3,664 Posts
Unfortunately, raised scales are always dropsy. I've seen cases where a fish was so emaciated he didn't appear bloated with the scale raising.. can you share photos?

1 gallon is really too small to filter. Bettas don't do well with currents and in something so small there would be no place to get away from. Also, since it's way too small to cycle, there's very little point to it.

Your water change cycle is why he's sick. A tank your size should get a 100% water change every 3 days, with ideally another 50% change on day two. With your water change routine ammonia would be regularly very high and he would inevitably be ill.

Also he is too cold. Bettas need to be kept in constant temps of 76-82 (ideally 78-79) and low temps along with change in temps will break down their immune system, cause stress and eventually illness.

Melafix is potentially lethal to bettas. It has an ingredient that is known to damage their labrynth organ and cause the betta to suffocate. Bettafix is a highly diluted Melafix that the manufacter made with this in mind, but since it still containst he same ingredient it isn't suggested. It will also do nothing for him..


At this point you need to up your water change routines as outlined above.. 50% and 100% alternating. You also need to get him heated up. It's very hard to heat and maintain a 1gallon tank which is really not ideal to keep a betta healthy long term. Strongly suggest investing in something more appropriate (2.5 gallons +) and a good adjustable heater like a Marineland Visitherm, Hydor Theo or the like. Depending on what size tank you get depends on the wattage to get. 25w for a 2.5g. 50w for a 5g and 100w for 10. Also depending on the size of the tank the less you'll have to change the water. You'll also need to invest in a standard in-tank thermometer to monitor temp. Acclimate him slowly to the higher temp by raising the tank 1-2 degrees and hour up to 78-79.

In addition to the increase in water change and heat you need to add some epsom salts. Go ahead and add .5 to 1 tsp per gallon predissolved in some aquarium water before you add it. Also you will need some good internal medication. Look for Kanaplex by Seachem. If you can't find it try to find Maracyn Plus, Furan-2 or Maracyn 2.

Last, I would also choose to change his food to something protein based like Omega One Betta Buffet or New Life Spectrum Betta. Regardless, he needs to be fed daily with one fast a week. Standard size pellets like the Omega One needs to be fed 3-4 a day split up into 2 feedings. The NLS are a lot smaller and you can feed like 6-8 a day.

5,671 Posts
Raised scales are not always a sign of dropsy, I'm sorry to say.. something simple as a bacteria infection can cause it.. (I know, dropsy is a bacterial infection.. but you know what I mean heh) which I think this is what is going on.

The routine of water change stated above is too much for any tank, as the water can be too clean and can cause health issues just as much as an unclean tank.

1 50% and 1 100% water change per week is recommended, that is based off of a lot of experience, experiments, wet-vets, etc.

For pop eye, go ahead and I would actually recommend 2 tsp per gallon of Epsom Salt, undyed and unscented, per gallon, daily 100% water changes adding in more salt each time. Dissolve it prior to adding it in with your guy.
What you can do is use a glass and put in a small amount of water in it, with a drop or two of conditioner, the salt and dissolve it.. then pour in a bit of it into the tank over a period of 30 minutes to get him adjusted to the salt.. after the initial adjustment, you won't have to do it that way if you wish when doing the 100% daily changes as he will already be adjusted to the salt.

If by day 6 he isn't looking any better, then I suggest continuing with the Epsom salt, and start medication with API General Cure or Mardel’s Maracyn I & II- follow the directions on the bottle.

Sop use on Melafix- why I want you to wait 6 days at least before starting on any other medication, as too much medication can be more detrimental to the fish than the illness you are treating.

A heater of 10-25 watts is recommended, as it will keep the temp stable and within the preferred range of the tropical fish that bettas are- 78-80 is ideal. A few degrees can make all the difference to their overall health and activity level.

I have to agree, Aqua Culture food isn't ideal to feed as it's pretty much a low quality food. As mentioned before, Omega One Betta Buffet I highly recommend, New Life Spectrum is also good.. live foods if you can get them are the best.
Ideally you should feed them small meals multiple times a day- what most do is breakfast and dinner of only a couple pellets per meal.
If you wish to finish up your pellets, 2-3 per meal, twice daily I recommend. I know those pellets, and 4-6 a day is plenty.. you don't want to over feed as they can easily cause bloat due to their ingredients, and underfeeding with low quality is very unhealthy.

Keep us updated on how he is doing, and if you have any more questions please feel free to ask!

3,664 Posts
Water clean. Ammonia build up will be .25ppm ammonia or.higher if you.wait more.than 3 days a water.change on 1g. Even sticky guide.says u.need 2 100% changes.weekly. if you don't believe me get a.drops kit

I. Would.not.wait a.week to.treat.this. Epsom.salt will help with fluid build up but not treat.the.infection and waiting a week when it has.gotten to his point could be very costly. General cure does not treat.internal problems but. Maracyn 2 even tho my.first choice has a chance to work.

Sorry about typos new.tablet is.driving me crazy

2,690 Posts
Water -can- be too clean. OFL has stated that before, and more than once I do believe. I must second Myates advice. While your current water change schedule is inadequate, I have never been good with the proper maintenance for smaller filtered tanks.
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