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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm getting a bit worried about my veiltail betta.

Long story short, shortly after a water change about two weeks ago, Marm started to have swim bladder issues, he kept sinking, and mostly stayed on the bottom, propped up using a rock.

Tried fasting for 3 days, then a bit of pea. Tried fasting for 4 days too.
Since two of my other bettas seemed to be having similar symptoms, a couple days ago I decided to start Tetracycline. Currently on the third out of four doses (as according to the package). Also have been feeding him Jungle's antibacterial food (also on day 3).

Before I started the antibiotics, I noticed a spot on his right side that looked like the scales were sort of "pinched together".
Not the best pic, but this is from about a week ago:


Now it looks like he's actually missing scales in this area.
I'm wondering if the missing scales could be just from rubbing on the rocks/plants when he's trying to prop himself up, or if it could be a sign of something else.

Also, tonight, shortly after feeding him, he seemed to be breathing heavily, though he seems to be breathing normally now.

Other than being a bit listless, he's still eating, his colour is good, and he responds to me moving near the tank.

Tank stats:
2.5g mini bow, with mini filter.
Heater currently unplugged, temp 78-80F.
A chunk of java moss, a few rocks, and a piece of driftwood.

I don't know if I'm being paranoid, but could the driftwood be throwing something off? It's a piece I collected from the beach (not sure what kind of wood it is), boiled it for half an hour to an hour, changing the water at least 3 times. It's been in there since I set up the tank, 3 months ago.

Can anyone help me figure out what could be going on with him?
 

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Hi Bullfrog. I haven't seen this before, but is there any chance that it's Velvet and the scales are curling up or falling off from the infection? I have heard that Velvet is common in bettas but as far as I know, I haven't seen a betta with velvet.

I see that you're in Kelowna. If you can identify your betta's condition and can't find a medication locally, I will send something to you by mail. I think that I can get it there overnight if it's not a Stat holiday.

Good luck with your betta.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Morainy, it was a good thought. I checked him with a flashlight (though not a very bright flashlight), but didn't see any gold specks...

Medication I can find off and on here, though I usually only check two of the stores here.

Not sure, but he seems to be slightly better since I started the Tetracycline, though certainly no where near 100%. Finished the last dose today, and will do part water change + carbon in the filter tomorrow.
Then, unless someone has a thought what else it might be, I'll just let him rest up, and keep the water clean, and keep an eye on him.

It's really frustrating to see him like this and not being able to do anything about it :(
 

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Hi Bulldog,

I found this older post after reading a more recent one about problems with 3 of your bettas. I was looking for the update about Marm but didn't find it. (Is this Marm?)

How is this guy doing? Did the Tetracycline help?

I notice that you've got him in a mini bow with a filter. I've found with bettas in the past that they can be stressed by filtration in a small tank over time. While treating him, my only suggestion would be to turn off the filtration completely, let the water go still, and give a large water change every day. He may benefit from just being able to lie around for awhile.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Morany.

Marm isn't doing any better. I think the missing scales are looking a little better after the T.C., but he's gotten much more lethargic.

Somewhat good news is that he'll still eat, if I can coax him up from the bottom. I've been feeding the antibacterial pellets for about 10 days, and just switched back to regular pellets tonight (soaking them for 10 mins first).

What concerns me now, tonight I noticed around his gills it looks like the scales are "lifting". Took a pic while he was laying close to the front.

Can't see the lifting scales in this pic, but you can see his gill looks sort of uneven. It looks like he might have some kind of growth under the gill... It's sort of just starting to form a bump.

Here's a pic that shows where the scales seem to be missing. It's the lighter area on his back, but like I said, it's not getting worse, so right now I think I need to focus on the gill.


I've taken your suggestion of turning off the filter. I'll just leave it off for tonight, then do a water change tomorrow, and leave the water level lower, while I'm at it. Only thing I'm a bit worried about is temperature fluctuations with such little water.
It probably wouldn't hurt to keep the light off too, right? It's a low wattage light, but it does give off a bit of heat when it's on. Would help keep the temp more constant.
 

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I don't know what's wrong with him, Bulldog. I'd suspect velvet because of the gill involvement and the lifting of the scales, but I can't really see any signs of that from your photo.

Sometimes, I think that bettas come from the breeder with infections or tumours or they are just plain sickly, and figuring out what's wrong with them is a difficult guessing game.

Why have you turned off your heater, if you're worried about temperature fluctuations? Is it because your water level is lower? I have a small Marineland 10W heater that I'm not using. You can have it if you'd like. Luckily, it's summer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
He is just a petstore betta, so I know he's not the highest of quality. I've had him for over 3 months though, so it makes me feel like it's something I've done :(

Heater was off because without it the water temp was at 80. The heater isn't adjustable, so when it was on, it was pushing it too high, 85-86.
With the light off, I think it's safe to turn the heater back on, but I'll be monitoring the temp.

I think it might be worth a try to give him some Velvet meds.

One thing just to note, he's NOT breathing heavily or anything. In fact, the other day I thought he had died suddenly, because he wasn't responding to me, and I couldn't see his gills moving at all! Finally, after a couple of minutes, and after bumping the tank a couple of times, he looked around o.o
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just to keep this updated:
Started Coppersafe today, going to decide in the next day or two if I should do another round of Tetracycline.
Did a big water change today, and left the water level much lower.
Filter is off, light is off, heater is on. Water temp is currently 80F.

Marm was not looking good today. On his left side (the side missing the scales), the scales around his gills seem to really be lifting up.
Still breathing normally though...

I had the light on for a short while today, while I was changing the water, and had a good look at him for any other symptoms. Looked at him from above, no pineconing. He swam up and looked at me, and all his fins look good, no tears or rot. His eyes still look normal, though maybe not the sparkle they had before.
Checked him with the flashlight, still no sign of the "gold dust" look of velvet...

The lower water level is good for him. He's just lounging on the java moss, which is just a few cm from the surface.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Morainy :)

This pic pretty much sums it up: The side of his face that looks swollen, and the scales lifting up. Also noticed some red spots in the area, so started another round of Tetracycline.
 

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Wow, you have sharp eyes and an excellent camera, Bullfrog.

I know that there are many experienced betta keepers on the forum and I hope that they can help you out. I think your idea of giving him another round of Tetracycline is a good one, but I don't really know what's wrong with him. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I appreciate your support Morainy :)

Did some googling, and found this, which sounds very similar:
Killifish Australia :: View topic - IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH MY FIGHTER?

Even the same colour betta, which is freaky...
They used something called "Para-cide"
Aquamaster Para Cide Tablets :: Medications :: Fish & Aquarium :: Pet Supplies Online | Products | Accessories | Discount Prices

Never even heard of that before... At Petsmart, they had Coppersafe and Maracide, and I went with the Coppersafe.
If I see no improvement with the Coppersafe, I'll try the Maracide instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'll just keep updating this every couple days.

He's a bit more responsive now, but his left side is looking as bad as ever. The whole left side of his face is "puffy" looking. The spot on his back has shrunk a bit, but still looks a bit like his face, with about 4 scales white coloured and lifted up.

It seems so weird that this is only affecting one side of him... The other side of his face looks totally normal.

I keep wondering if it could be some sort of fungus, though I don't see any white stuff hanging off of him.

His belly is looking a little bit bloated today too. He didn't eat last night. I put in a pre-soaked blood worm, and he went after it a couple times, but I guess it was too big, so he gave up after a couple tries. I tried breaking it in half, but by that time it sunk, and he wasn't interested. Today he happily ate a pellet though.

Light and filter are still off. Just turning the light on for about 10 minutes/day to feed him and have a look at him. There's other ambient light in the room though, so the tank isn't pitch black. The heater is doing a nice job keeping the water at a steady 80*F.

It's the 3rd day of the second round of Tetracycline. And keeping up with the proper concentration of Coppersafe when I do partial water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks InfraredDream.

I'm having a hard time figuring out if he's getting better or worse...
The left side of his face still looks pretty nasty, but it almost looks like all the scales are dead (they're all white), and I'm hoping there's new ones growing underneath.
Hard to explain, but also hard to capture with a pic.

Here's the best I could do:
This is from yesterday, and it looks a bit different again today. But you can see how near the bottom of his gill it looks sort of white and wispy, like dead skin.


Finished his second round of Tetracycline. Since the water level is low, I can't run the filter, so I won't be able to get rid of the meds with carbon, but I did a 50% change today, and will do a couple smaller water changes in the next couple days. If he's still looking the same, I might even do a third round of antibiotics.

He's still pretty responsive, does a little bit of begging, and is still willing to eat. I've just been feeding him one pellet per day. Tried pre-soaking the pellets, but they tend to sink, and he doesn't see them. His belly looks a little big, but he's definitely pooping, since there seems to be a lot of waste on the bottom.
Still no improvement with his swim bladder though.
 

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He's got a fungus of some type! I don't think the tetracylin is going to help the fungus out. It may help with whatever the swim bladder issue is but it looks like you've got two problems. The swim bladder and the fungus......

You could treat the fungus with a salt bath or a fungus treatment. Or Methylene Blue etc...

Good luck!

I hope he pulls through...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I was wondering if it could be a fungus!
From what I read of of fungus didn't really describe his condition though.

I think I'll add a bit of salt right to his tank tomorrow, after a water change.
Should I continue with the coppersafe?

Edit: To get the ball rolling, I did a 50% water change, and added just a small amount of salt to his water, 1/4 teaspoon for the 1g of water he's in. Did not add any extra coppersafe after the water change.
Tomorrow, I'll probably do another partial water change, and either up the concentration of salt, or get a fungus med. Suggestions?
 

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You'll have to up the salt to fight the fungus.... He's got two conditions right now. And what is pictured is fungus for sure! go to 1 tsp per gallon. I've got an indian almond leaf too! If you want to try that... but it takes a while to be affective and if you change the water you prevent it from being useful! Salt is a good wat to treat fungus. You could try a fungus medication too. But pick one method and stick with it. Unless you aren't seeing any improvement!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
He's looking a little better already.
Upped the salt to about 1/2 tsp for the gallon.
He's got red/bloody spots on his gills a bit again, so I'm wondering if I should do one more round of the tetracycline, or try a different a.b. When he was on the tetracycline, the bloody spots seemed to clear up, so I think I might go for a 3rd dose of that.

I think you're right Scholz, he's probably got several things going on with him right now. One thing probably lead to another.

Still keeping my eye on him :)
 

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really 1 tsp per gallon is not going to hurt him. It'll really help fight the fungus. It's treatment level salt for betta's. For preventive measures you can add 1 tsp per 2.5 gallons. But for "treatment" you need to up it. So the fungus dies and his slim coat gets good. As for his gills.... maybe he has flukes.... I'm not sure if betta's get flukes... or what the treatment for them in betta's is.... but it could explain the fungus infection and the gills....
 
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