View Full Version : Deformed Betta

08-13-2015, 08:30 AM
My younger sister convinced me to buy a betta that had been sitting at Petco for sale for a couple of weeks. She is at max capacity, or else she would have taken it in herself. He's a DT with a badly S shaped spine, and appears to only use one gill. The gill cover on the useless (right) side only moves when he gulps air at the surface. He's also fairly hunched in the back, and points straight up most of the time (well, as straight as he gets).
Aside from the obvious deformities, he seems in good health and attitude. I've only had him for two days, and I purchased him 6 hours drive from where I live, and he made it home perfectly content. I freshened up his water (50%) before the journey of course, assuming the ammonia levels were probably close to catastrophic for him in there. He's been acclimated to my 20L, where I have my other betta, Zorro, living with 3 zebra danios, 3 black neon tetras, and 3 red platies. He's floating in a breeder basket, but neither Zorro nor Oscar (that's what I named him, after Shark Tales, because he looks like he stands on his two tail fins like legs haha) seem interested in each other, which is good, no extra stress. The 20L is well established; 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrate, 0 ppm nitrite, and 7.5 pH (the water isn't great here, but never had any problems with it). It is at 78 degrees F, with an aerator, filter, and all live plants.
My question is if anyone has had a betta with any of these deformities, or all of them, and how did you cope with them? I'm concerned he doesn't get enough air, but he's made it this long the way he is I suppose. I have read that the S shaped spine can be a result of bad water quality and can be corrected with clean water and some TLC. Has anyone had luck with that? I feel bad for the guy, being an ugly duckling. I'm not a breeder, so if it's just shotty genetics, I won't be passing them on. I provided some pictures for y'all :ssmile::fish:
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Thanks for your advice! ((:

08-15-2015, 07:49 PM
I've kept male Bettas together in tanks around the same size, I think as long as there are plenty of plants and hiding spaces they should be fine, especially if they are totally ignoring each other through the breeder box. The best you can probably do for him is pristine water quality (like you said you have) and a high quality, high protein food that MIGHT help strengthen his back. Even though it's the bone structure at fault a bit of extra muscle wouldn't hurt. Try feeding both of them some frozen blood worms or something along those lines, my bettas love them! Hopefully TLC and good care can do it for him:)

08-16-2015, 05:21 AM
2 males together?

08-17-2015, 06:47 PM
Thanks chesterdoo! I upped the salt by 20% to maybe help him "get off his feet" (he looks like he has legs), and have been feeding an assortment of freeze dried blood worms, baby shrimp, peas, and tropical fish flakes. I try to change it up regularly so they don't get bored of their food. He seems to be getting stronger. It's been a week now, still pretty crooked, but he's holding his body more horizontally than vertically. I've been letting him out of the isolation box to swim around some. My theory of exercise is being tested. At first, he didn't know how to swim (so sad that a fish didn't know how to swim), he just flailed around violently, got upside down, sideways, everything you can do wrong to swim as a fish. I think because his fins are so red, my platies keep "kissing" his tail and it freaks him out and he hides. His lack of gill on one side seems to be moving more and more each day. Is it possible it was an injury that couldn't heal with the conditions he was in? He appears to pant a lot, but it's probably because one gill is doing a job for two.

And Rebecca_finny, yes, two males together. I have two others and they were aggressive through the isolation box, towards themselves, mirrors, and my veteran betta, Zorro, who lives in the 20L with Oscar now. I was very cautious, but after seeing that Zorro gave no indication of aggression towards Oscar, and Oscar had the same reaction to him, I figured I could test it and see what happened. I observed them for hours. Zorro would even brush past Oscar to swim up to me, and I got no reaction from either of them. Even in a feeding frenzy they are respectful of one another. They claimed opposite ends of the tank to hide in, but still swim everywhere and anywhere they please now without any anger. I believe I just got lucky to find two easy going bettas. I know that betta males are meant to be alone from their own kind, and I wouldn't let them live together if I was worried they would hurt one another. Honestly though, I don't think Zorro knows what he is anymore. He's spent most of his life with other fish that are not flashy. He doesn't even attack his own reflection. I personally wouldn't recommend anyone trying this unless they've observed the betta or bettas long enough, or have time to sit and watch the tank for a few hours of the day.
Here's a picture of them (Zorro right, rooting in the rocks, Oscar left, being strange, trying to stand on his fins at the bottom, but the current blew him over).

I'm also getting a 55 gal for my goldfish, and then I'll be upgrading the bettas to the 30 gal. Hopefully they'll enjoy more space (:

08-17-2015, 08:21 PM
I would get the betta it's own tank. Both of them. Bettas will kill each other, also, they are incompatible with zebra danios, because danios need cooler water than bettas.
Danios also need groups of 6+, eventually, they will be nippy in smaller groups.
As do black neons, they need groups of 6+ as well. Bettas can be aggressive towards other fish, so I would get them both their own tanks.