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1) Stop the Aquarium salt.

Aquarium salt contains sodium, which causes fluid retention, bloating and buoyancy issues. Bettas are sensitive to salt, and using it is a common cause of buoyancy issues and bloating.

2) Use a low dosage of Epsom salt.

Epsom salt does not contain sodium. It has a fluid reducing/laxative effect in people and fish. It helps with buoyancy issues, bloating, or constipation.

Mix 1 teaspoon Epsom salt into 1 gallon of water that is the same temperature as his current tank water. Add conditioner. Stir/shake until the Epsom salt is completely dissolved. Use this solution for his water changes.

If you don't have Epsom salt, it's available at supermarkets and pharmacies (but not petstores). Look for magnesium sulfate. (No dyes, additives or perfumes.) It is not expensive, and can be found at Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Publix, etc.

3) Do more frequent water changes.

A half gallon tank will build up toxins, wastes, ammonia and bacteria quickly. If these are present in the water, his fins won't heal and he'll be susceptible to disease and infection. I would either increase the water changes, or move him to a larger tank.

4) Can you post a photo of him so we can see his fins and overall condition?

3,952 Posts
API Stress Coat is just a water conditioner that has aloe added to it. Some people feel the aloe is soothing and healing.

Other people prefer Prime, which is a water conditioner that temporarily neutralizes ammonia (which is toxic) by converting it to ammonium (which isn't toxic). However, it only converts it for about 48 hours. After that, you either have to redose it, or do a water change to remove any built up ammonia.

IMO, the minimum requirements are that you use a water conditioner that neutralizes/removes chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals. I feel that the decision on whether to use a condition that does something more than this is a matter of personal choice/preference, as well as each person's unique aquarium conditions. (See below.)

Yes, ideally, the ammonia level should be zero. If yours isn't, test your tap water. Some public water municipalities use ammonia or chloramines to disinfect water. If yours does this, there will always be some ammonia in your tap water. If this is the case, then a conditioner like Prime can be worthwhile.

The API Master Freshwater test kit is often recommended on this forum. It's about $30 at petstores. But you can usually buy it online (at Amazon) for less than this.

As for Melafix and Bettafix, they contain an oil (tea tree oil). Tea tree oil has been shown to have minor antimicrobial properties. There's a lot of controversy on this forum about using these "-fix" medications. Some people believe they coat the breathing organ of Bettas and can suffocate them, others don't believe this to be true. However, people seem to agree that Bettas are sensitive to this chemical (which is probably why Bettafix, a diluted version of Melafix, was created).

My personal opinion is that if antimicrobial medications are needed, I feel there are options that are more effective, and have fewer potential side effects. For bacterial infections, there are antibiotics. For parasitical infections, there are antiparasiticals. Etc.

There have also been studies on Indian Almond Leaves (IAL), which show they release tannins into the water. Tannins have minor antimicrobial properties. They also lower the pH of the water slightly, which can mimic the natural habitat of Bettas. (Indonesia has soft, slightly acidic water.) Also, tannins can help speed wound healing. (They're used on people who have suffered burns.)

As for Epsom salt, my personal opinion is that it's OK to use it short term for issues such as bloating, constipation and buoyancy issues. It has a fluid reducing/laxative effect.

If your Betta isn't currently bloated, constipated or having buoyancy issues, then you can skip the Epsom salt.

Clean, warm water and good nutrition is the best way to keep them healthy. This means keeping ammonia, toxin and bacterial levels low by either doing frequent water changes or having a cycled tank. And feeding quality meals which will give them the nutrients they need and help strengthen their immune system.

3,952 Posts
In your previous post, you said you using aquarium salt. What dosage are you using? You also said that you were going to use Epsom salt. Have you done this, and if so, how much did you add?

It's not advisable to use aquarium salt and antibiotics simultaneously. Both are metabolized and eliminated by the liver and kidneys. Using both will put a lot of stress on these internal organs. This can lead to other problems, beyond the initial infection.

I also think you're underfeeding. IMO, 3 pellets every 3 days is far too little food. I don't know what brand of food you give him, but I feed each of mine about 6 Omega One pellets per day. So mine get about 40 pellets per week, while yours only gets 6-9 per week.

Could you please fill out the form below? This will give everyone information about his symptoms in a format that's recognizable to most of us. It'll tell us (in one place) what his symptoms are, and you're doing to treat them (as well as what you've already done for them). Answer the questions that you can. Leave anything else blank.


What size is your tank?
What temperature is your tank?
Does your tank have a filter?
Does your tank have an air stone or other type of aeration?
Is your tank heated?
What tank mates does your betta fish live with?

What type of food do you feed your betta fish?
How often do you feed your betta fish?

How often do you perform a water change?
What percentage of the water do you change when you perform a water change?
What type of additives do you add to the water when you perform a water change?

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


Symptoms and Treatment
How has your betta fish's appearance changed?
How has your betta fish's behavior changed?
When did you start noticing the symptoms?
Have you started treating your fish? If so, how?
Does your fish have any history of being ill?
How old is your fish (approximately)?
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