View Full Version : Betta Health Issues - red patch and wasting fins

03-12-2015, 04:59 AM
My betta has had progressively developing fin rot for several months now (he was a fin biter- prompted the initial infection), it's fairly under control but it took a hit on my buddy. It was only on the anal fins, not the top or bottom (caudal?) fins. Water conditions have been fairly unstable, but overall good; temperatures around 78, ammonia and nitrates low. He moves back and forth because I'm in school out west a few hours from my main aquarium, thats the instability.

He seems to be happy and healthy other than the issues mentioned, he eats well and swims actively.

What worries me is the slowly advancing red line on his lateral line. Its a fairly noticeable red patch. Seems to be bacterial. I don't want to make assumptions or put the ideas in anyones head, but I believe its hemorrhagic septemica. He's also losing scales. Adding treatment and symptoms list below.

-Tail biting
-Fin Rot (only on anal fin)
-Red Coloring along lateral line
-Fins becoming see through/thin (everywhere)

Treatment so Far:
-AQ Salt, regularly
-Tetracycline (2 rounds)
-Triple Sulfa (1 round)

I'm really a bit concerned, the red patch and the fin rot appear to fairly antibiotic-resistant. Maybe it's stress preventing from healing or something similar. I can't seem to find any info on the red patch on the lateral line or any similar pictures on the internet already. Attaching an Imgur link, he was posing for you all. Should be a good view of issues.


03-12-2015, 01:48 PM
[LEFT] Water conditions have been fairly unstable, but overall good; temperatures around 78, ammonia and nitrates low.

That's the first issue I see, ammonia should always be 0.

How do you test your water?...what is your water change schedule?...what conditioner do you use?

03-12-2015, 08:47 PM
Red lines are usually due to poor water conditions, although all of the medications could have been stressful on his liver and kidneys. You want to make sure the ammonia and nitrites are at 0, and nitrates are low. You may also want to add something called Garlic Guard to his food (pre soak it before feeding him) it will help his immune system too.

What size tank do you have him in, and what type of filtration do you use? I ask because smaller tanks are harder to maintain, the smallest size I recommend is 5 gallons. Too strong of a filter flow will be stressful for your fish-which may be one of the reasons he is nipping his fins (frustration). Also, any decorations he can "lounge" on in the tank? Bettas like to drape on plants, driftwood or other things they can lay on in a tank.

Also being a carnivore you may want to vary his diet to include frozen foods like bloodworms, spirulina-fed brine shrimp or Mysis shrimp in addition to the betta pellets you are feeding him. This will help him get back to full health.

03-13-2015, 03:22 AM
I keep him in a 20 gallon tank with water parameters such that they wouldn't cause any issues (I've researched and tested and feel comfortable with that assumption). I travel with him for 2 week intervals once every three months or so. When we're away he's in a 2.5 gallon tank and I change the water at 50% every two days- this could be a source of stress until he is returned to his 20 gallon. It is, regrettably, unavoidable.

The water params have been good, but a bit unstable. I've been fiddling with the tank a lot with the medicine and reshaping to make him comfortable- he has plants and driftwood to sit on. Maybe I was the cause of his issues after all; an overzealous caregiver. You're diagnosis seems to be the best I've gotten so far, since I didn't know the red lines on the lateral line were indicative of stress. I'll leave him alone in his 20 gallon with little to no current and good water params and see if he improves.

Just to clarify:
The extremely thin (like easily see through with any light behind them) fins, and red discoloration along his lateral lines can be stress related? I was almost positive this had to be bacterial infection patch. If this is the case I will be very passive and hands off and hope he improves in a clean, warm tank with good decor. This is probably my last option anyway actively medicating has done little.

Thanks for the insight.

03-13-2015, 05:23 PM
The fact that you have been using both gram negative and positive medications as well as fungal medications with no improvements does indicate the source of his symptoms is elsewhere. Transferring him to and fro can be the cause of his issues. Just like many other creatures-stable environment is key and moving him every 2 weeks is a lot of stress, which would explain the red lines and thinning of the fins. If you need to transport him so often you may want to rethink his home tank and make it something that is transportable. Also if your 20 gallon is running for 2 weeks without any source of ammonia, you could be killing the small amount of BB you have in your filter, and forcing the tank to re-cycle again every time he gets back in it. This would cause ammonia and nitrite spikes, which would stress him out as well, as well as be the cause of the instability in water quality

Instead of a typical glass tank (20 gallons is a lot for one betta) you may want to downsize to a 5/10 gallon acrylic tank. Something thing where you can lower the water level as you transport him in his home tank from one place to another. Or another option is a storage container with a tight fitting lid that can be applied when you are in transport, depending on how long the trip is (they gulp air so you would want fresh/good source of O2 as you travel-poping the lid occasionally would do it). I know that I had a group of my fish in 3 storage containers while I transferred them from a 55 gallon tank to a 75 gallon over almost a 2 month period they did not suffer any harm, the plastic held up and I was even able to add a heater to it without any harm.

You can look around for a sturdy box (like maybe a plastic file storage box) that can handle 5-10 gallons of water without stress to make his permanent-transportable home.

To accelerate his healing again I would look into Seachem garlic guard, and higher quality foods. Give him some time to recover for the stress he has been dealing with. You could try adding vitamins to his water as well, however a stable environments, stable water conditions and good food should help him recover.