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My betta has white fuzz on his body, face, and fins. I got him almost 2 days ago. What do I do to save him?

I had a betta fish a few years ago, but I'm now re-entering the world of bettas. So I am still learning. He is in a .5 gallon tank, with new water added one day ago. It is distilled water. He hasn't been eating. I just put some daphnia in and he wasn't interested. His fins are becoming clamped, and he is now just keeps swimming to the top, only to slowly sink to the bottom.

I need to help him, what should I do? Before you mention anything about his tank being too small and stuff like that, know that I can't change it right away so this is what I have to work with.

Thank you in advance for your help!
 

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Help!

Any help is appreciated! I just added a few drops of Betta water conditioner, since the bottle says that it promotes healing and relieves stress.
 

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From what you are describing it sounds like a fungus. Treat him with API Fungus Cure or Jungle Fungus Guard, those medications should be easy to get.

You really shouldn't be using distilled water. It lacks the essential minerals that a betta needs. Tap water will be fine. I suggest using Seachem Prime as a conditioner.

Tank size is a pretty big issue. A 0.5 gallon tank is too small. It requires 100% daily water changes which can be stressful for a fish. A 2.5 gallon tank is considered the bare minimum. You said that you couldn't do anything about that right now but I think you can. I would recommend getting a plastic container like a Rubbermaid, or Sterilte storage box as a temporary home. I think you could even find a suitable one at a dollar store. Just make sure it is new. Even a larger size Critter Keeper could work well as a permanent home. My 2.5 gallon, all-glass hospital tank was under $10.00

In a 0.5 gallon tank, harmful ammonia can build up at a incredibility fast rate. Prime can help keep it in check. Add 2 drops per gallon to condition your water and 1 drop per gallon each day to bond the ammonia and render it harmless for 24-48 hours until you can get to a water change.

A heater is a necessity to a tropical fish, preferably an adjustable one. You really can't properly control the temperature in a 0.5 gallon tank. Lower temperatures will weaken a betta's resistance and allow him to become susceptible to disease. Preset heaters are no good, they require constant monitoring and can overheat easily. In order to thrive, a betta needs to be kept at a steady temperature of 78-82°.

You are dealing with a fungus, so I would keep the temperature a bit lower at 74-76°. This will keep the fungus from spreading.

For a 2.5 gallon tank you are looking at a 25 watt adjustable heater.

Make sure you have a thermometer.

Since you are still learning, I might as well get this out of the way.

For food, I would suggest a high quality pellet like Omega One Betta Buffet or New Life Spectrum betta, community or surface feeder formula. The are high in protein and low on fillers. Once he gets through this, I would suggest daily feedings with a fast once a week. Freeze dried treats are no good. They will cause bloating & constipation. Once you fish gets better, you can feed him a frozen treat like bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia or mysis shrimp. Avoid flake food.

Testing your water is important, it will give you an idea of what harmful toxins are building up. I would recommend getting a test kit. I use the API master test kit.

In the future a filter would be a good idea. It will allow your tank to cycle creating a safe environment for your betta and less water change for you. Unfortunately, you really don't have any options in a tank as small as yours.

Do the best you can, I would suggest getting the medication and the Prime first. A larger container should be a priority as well. The heater is super important but since the treatment for fungus requires lower temperatures you should be OK for a few days.
 

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Thank you for the information! That was very helpful.

Update: I returned Olaf (the dead betta) to the pet store today. I now have a female betta with a 2 gallon tank and water heater. I hope this doesn't happen again.
 
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