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Semi-New to betta, need some help diagnosing an illness.

387 Views 9 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Taeanna
I have only ever had one other betta fish which lived for almost 6 years and never got sick on me. He recently died of what I am assuming was old age and so i got a new betta. I don't know exactly what is wrong with this one but something is definitely wrong, he has a full cloudiness over the top half of both eyes, it almost looks solid(i have never seen ich infect the eyes before so i have no idea if that could be it, it was very hard to catch because of his color), and one eye may be slightly bulged out(or i'm overly worried), he is extremely timid, darting away whenever i get close(but not scratching against surfaces), his dorsal fin and two bottom fins are bent strangely at the ends(not clamped though), he has no problems swimming around but spends most of his time resting in the planted plants I have in the aquarium and he has no appetite which worries me the most. I want to help him before he becomes very sick and uncomfortable I have developed an attachment quickly.

What size is your tank? 2 gallon
What temperature is your tank? 80-82
Does your tank have a filter? sponge filter
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration? yes
Is your tank heated? yes
What tank mates does your betta fish live with? None

What type of food do you feed your betta fish? Hikari Gold
How often do you feed your betta fish? 2 Times a day 2-3 pellets

How often do you perform a water change? 2 times a week
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change? 100%
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change? Betta H20 Conditioner

Water Parameters:
Have you tested your water? If so, what are the following parameters? No

Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed? Bent fins, solid cloudiness on top half of both eyes
How has your betta fish's behavior changed? Timid, darts away and runs into the gravel or plants
When did you start noticing the symptoms? today
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how? No
Does your fish have any history of being ill? Not that i know of
How old is your fish (approximately)? Bought from petsmart, impossible to tell but probably not over 1 year old
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Are you able to get us a picture of the clouding? A picture from above to show the bulging is also important as it can help us diagnose if he may have popeye.

How does he respond to things and you? Can he see you or do you get the impression he may be a little blind in his eyes?
It seems like he can definitely see something when i walk up to him, but the way that he runs into things in his tank it's like he can only partially see. Sorry the pictures are so blurry, he wouldn't stop darting around in the tank so i put him in a jar but then he swam around and around so i had to take them while he was on the move. He still isn't eating which worries me.


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When I shine a flashlight on him (checking for velvet) it almost looks like he has had a drop of gold/creme colored paint spilled on his head and the tops of his eyes, not flakes though more like paint, and he has a few black spots around his mouth that I hadn't noticed before. I'm really growing attached to this poor little guy and I want to help him be happy, i've named him Claude, so even if he needs lots of TLC and/or meds I am ready and willing!!
I can't see any clear indication of disease, the eye caps are not bulging enough for me to diagnose popeye, but the fact that he is hitting things in his tank it usually points to either stress or that he has an itchy head.

You say he has gold on his head, this usually indicates a velvet infection.
if you choose to medicate right away you can get a general cure which will adress any possible nasties, also since he is newly home these often are combination velvet/ich killers. I have heard of some keepers always dosing a new fish with these while others prefer to wait and watch, if he continues scratching and the gold begins to spread then you will have confirmed his unwanted guest.
It looks like the gold has come onto the top half of his eyes as well, can velvet infect the eyes? What really worries me is that it seems like he can see things below him but he can't see his food which floats on the surface above him. What kind of medications would you recommend to treat velvet? Also is there a more conservative approach to treat it without medicine? I don't know how i feel about dumping a whole bunch of chemicals in there with him.

Thank you for helping me out, i know it seems silly to be this worried but Claude is beautiful and I want him to thrive, I am getting him a 5 gallon tank today, the 2 gallon seems much too small.
Don't worry about his eyes being hurt, fish have eye caps that are sealed to the outside world, if it is velvet it is merely sitting on top and can be removed easily.

Velvet is pretty common and easy to treat as most general cures are able to cure it, look on the bottle of the gentler treatments and they should list several conditions including ich, velvet and mild infection. I use blue planet brand multi cure myself but I am unsure if that is available in the US.

Now there is actually a non medicated treatment option which is the blackout- put the tank somewhere pitch black such as a cupboard or closet, raise the heating of his tank to between 82-86F and administer some AQ salt to the tank. This cuts off the velvet's food source (light) and pushes them to temps that make it impossible to spread. This will take between two to three weeks to see an end to the infestation (don't worry, your fish will just sleep it off, but keep an eye out for stress behaviors afterwards- acclimate them to the light slowly).
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Ok, thank you. I did a lot of research today and went to the store and created a betta first aid kit loaded with water conditioners, medications for both fungal and bacterial infections, AQ salt, a larger 5 gal tank, and extra heaters and a thermometer as well as the liquid test for ammonia and the strips for the nitrates and nitrites and PH. So I am hoping I am well prepared for any trouble he gives me in the future. I got him to eat his first pellet today by taping the water next to the pellet with a toothpick it seemed to help him find it even though he seems partially blind. I will put him in the closet in his current tank and add some AQ salt to him and keep him nice and quiet for now.

Thank you for all of your help, i've learned a lot about bettas. :)
Just wanted to update you, I added some AQ salt to claudes' tank and put him in the closet overnight and during the day today, I just checked up on him and his eyes have cleared up almost 3/4 of the way up!! He is active, friendly, and had no problem finding and eating his food. Thank you so much for all of your help!!
I am very happy to see he is recovering!
Claude is lucky to have such a caring parent. :)
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