View Full Version : Is my Betta sick or am I Paranoid?

08-16-2007, 02:32 PM
I'm a new aquarium owner and made the mistake of putting my fish in 40 hours after I got the tank. Lots of ammonia I keep removing using ammo lock, 40% water changes, etc. but it's never reading more than 1.0 and with the lock it's probably harmless.

My fancy betta (male I believe) seems energetic and swims around a lot. I don't know if he was this way when I got him from the store 2 days ago but it looks like his left gills stick out much more than the right. In fact, it looks like they are bent a but like an "L" shape on the left side and they are slightly bulging. I am going to take a look at the other fancy bettas and see if they look similar but they did, with this kind of bulge on each side in back for their head/mouth. I'm also not sure if a whitish spot/bulge on each side, nothing major, is normal for them too. It doesn't look like ick and his scales seem fine.

Now it is possible that I am suffering from NAOP aka New Aquarium Owner Paranoia where you run into your local pet store every day thinking your fish have a new disease. I brought in my mollies but apparently they are very happy and the yellow one is normal with one albino-ish eye and one black eye. Rather neat, a little unusual, but perfectly fine apparently. pH might be 7.2 now, no nitrates/nitrites (or very low), ammonia back down to under .5 with the ammo lock in there, and 65% water change every day, 33% in the AM and 33% in the PM.

So back to the original question... do I need to worry? Should I isolate him in a bowl? He seems very happy and active in the tank. Should I post a picture? Thanks all for the help!

08-16-2007, 03:31 PM
What size is the tank? Yes you needed to cycle the tank, but you are doing right with the water changes and such. I think your betta is fine, possible a little stressed to do the ammonia and possible nitrite present. I have none present in any of my tanks. If you can invest in several live plants then that would help. I still get that, I watched my cory rub on something and I thought I had ick so I quickly started putting quick cure and stuff in there and he never done it again and I stared at him for like 30 min.

08-16-2007, 03:37 PM
maybe I have NAOP since cuz I was like that too a little but its kinda dying down (I hope!) that was funny what you said it reminded me of me, lol. my betta by the way, does something weird, he flares his gills alot, does anyone know if that is a problem or just a betta ,look at me I;m flaring my gills, kinda thing?

08-16-2007, 03:38 PM
Probably sees his reflection and is flaring at it thinking it's another betta.

08-16-2007, 03:41 PM
maybe, I don't know I think he does it when he is facing me sometimes now that sounds pretty bad doesn't it?

08-16-2007, 03:58 PM
Well one of two things are happening. He is flaring up to get you to feed him or you look like a betta.:hmm3grin2orange:

08-16-2007, 04:07 PM
hardy har har maybe a GIANT ONE no I'm just kidding, lol maybe that is his way of saying "Where's my pellets?" hehe

08-16-2007, 04:36 PM
I definitely had the NAOP... lol It wore down after a while, even though I know he did have ick cause I could see it and also a patch of fungus under his chin tha disappeared after treatment. Seriously I thought he had every disease in the "book". lol Its normal

08-17-2007, 01:08 AM
OK - I actually am unfortunately justified on this one and it's not just NAOP, lol. :D

Here is the problem now that I have him isolated in a large betta bowl (where he is not too happy) along with Complete Water Conditioner. When he flares both gills, he looks fine. The problem is that he can't close his left gill and I can't understand why. It looks like it's stuck open. I know the bowl should have zero ammonia or other contaminants as I got it from a nearby Petland store where they store many female betta in the tank and thriving. I bought BettaFix just in case but it doesn't seem to be the problem.

Anyone see this before?

08-17-2007, 01:42 AM
No I haven't but you can get a 2.5g with everything you need for the betta for 20$ at you local walmart and that is better than a bowl for him.

08-17-2007, 02:30 AM
No I haven't but you can get a 2.5g with everything you need for the betta for 20$ at you local walmart and that is better than a bowl for him.

A bowl is fine for isolation, its not his permanent habitat. I kept mine in a bowl for a few weeks before I got my 2.5 and it was just fine, so keeping him in a bowl to isolate and treat should be okay.

08-17-2007, 02:37 AM
Are the gills/gill red or have anything going on with it? If its just one sticking out a tad and he's not acting weird (rubbing on stuff, staying at the top to breath, etc).....it might just be a "natural" defect. Its hard to say really.
You might want to research Gill Flukes. I don't know much about it, but its a disease that effects a or both gills, so maybe do some research there? I'm really sorry I can't help more. :(

08-17-2007, 05:14 AM
Thanks Megan. :) I went back to the local store and they realized that my betta wasn't the only one with a gill sticking out pretty badly although it was worse than the guy next to him when I bought him. It really doesn't look natural and, since he's dark blue, it's difficult to tell if there is any significant problem.

Regardless, I seperated him from the other fish and tank and have a clean half gallon tupperware container where I put him in, which is a little bigger. I think he's happier than in the relatively small bowl I got from the store. I filled it to the top with fresh water, Betta Complete Water Conditioner, added BettaFix Remedy and a tad of Stress Coat. I'll keep him isolated for several days until the ammonia in the bigger tank is completely gone as I can do frequent water changes in the small bowl. I can also feed him Atison's Betta PRO food so he'll get a special betta diet as well. I also put some gravel on the floor and a small, soft synthetic plant. When in the big tank he really liked hiding between it and a tight wall when he rests. If this doesn't clear up in a day or so I may try to see what the antibiotic may do since the problem may be, in fact, bacterial.

When in the tank he was pretty active. He came to the top sometimes but enjoyed being on the bottom and hiding for short spells. Hard to tell and hopefully it's just some inflammation from the ammonia level going up to 1.5 or so in the big tank for short amounts of time. We'll see. Thanks so much to everyone. I hope he makes it because, as everyone said, he is a gorgeous fish.

08-17-2007, 03:02 PM
Your doing an awesome job, keep up the good work! :)
When my betta, Puffin, was in his 1 gal bowl...he loved in in there. I put in a small silk plant with a bunch of rounded leaves and he dug himself a pit in the gravel and would go lay under the leaves. It was cute. built bubble nests constantly in there too :) He'll be fine until you get him all fixed up :)

08-18-2007, 09:06 PM
So here is the scoop. I don't think it's gill fluke or anything else like that. He's not breathing heavily. He seems just fine but has one gill flapping out noticeably. What a gorgeous fish. I really don't want to take him back because there is no other fancy betta that compared with him. Here are a few lousy pictures of the problem. Unfortunately this one weekend my friend borrowed my good camera so these will have to do but you get the point:

You can see how far out the gill is in this picture

Fuzzy but you can see on the left it's hanging out there.

You can't tell but his fins have this amazing, regal look and he's red and irridescent blue all the way around with this lighter irridescent blue mixed with red and dark blue for his top fin.


08-18-2007, 09:22 PM
Dude i cant get the thing.Post pics near to the fish. Bettas oftenly do fan out their gills to flare at some other fish .Its their nature.As far as your one seems,i think you will hav to wait atleast a week and then see if anything strange happens to him,otherwise its just normal.

08-18-2007, 11:21 PM
Dude i cant get the thing.Post pics near to the fish. Bettas oftenly do fan out their gills to flare at some other fish .Its their nature.As far as your one seems,i think you will hav to wait atleast a week and then see if anything strange happens to him,otherwise its just normal.
Yes - when he flares out both gills they look exactly the same. He rarely ever does. Unfortunately only the right gill goes back into place. The left one stays in a permanent "flared" position and sorty of hangs there. It seems he can't retract it or it's just limply hanging there.

08-21-2007, 04:00 AM
Ok... this is going to be very hard to accept. My beautiful fancy betta has turned a pale, sickly green and lost much of his color. His gill looks like it's almost rotting off. His stomach looks a bit dropped (dropsy?) and he looks like he's fighting for life. Since I had him he has been a real fighter but I don't think he'll make it through the night. Just doesn't look it. Not sure what else to do. Tried Betta Fix and may need something strong if he's going to be saved. I have a general antibiotic (General Cure for pparasite control) but I'm not sure what this might be. I have this and Pimafix at home. I'm very upset... don't know how this happened but I do know other bettas at the store looked a little like this. Ugh...

08-21-2007, 11:08 AM
Aquarium salt and stess coat is about all you can do.

08-21-2007, 01:43 PM
Thanks for the suggestion but there is something else I can do... NOT put in ammonia-filled water!!! I'm having a bit of a quandary. My main tank somehow is at an ammonia level of 0 this morning! Amazing! I wouldn't want to use this water because who knows what it really is - tank has been cycling like crazy.

Now when I tested my tapwater today, I found that it now has a LOT of ammonia in there - is this possible? I used the same test kit to test the aquarium water which gave a zero reading. I went out and bought Poland Spring water just to be sure. Added all the betta tap water stuff and betta fix - it too tests pretty high (over 1) on the ammonia scale. This seems very bizarre. Anyone else experience this? I'm not sure what to do. My tap water seemed to register a zero a few days ago. I'm beginning to wonder about my own health!

08-21-2007, 02:04 PM
What are you using to test with? I had odd results like that using some mardel test strips I bought. It is possible for your tap water to have some in it...I didnt know till I was having my own problems with ammonia and someone asked me to test the tap. It does sound weird and I am absolutely clueless about whats goin on too....

08-22-2007, 03:48 AM
Test strips are not accurate enough, you need a liquid test kit. What is your temp?

08-22-2007, 12:57 PM
OK... this answer is really funny. It was early in the morning and the damn test kit bottles all look the same. I used the pH bottle for Ammonia Test #2 by accident, LOL!!! :D So the water should be just fine and we have confirmed that my pH is 7.0-7.2. :D

So I ended up bringing my gorgeous betta in and trading him in for a new fish, who after bringing him home I realize is pretty spectacular too. Very pretty and a bit smaller. I did notice he also has a strange problem. He sort of flutters around about bit but now he looks better when he swims aggressively. I'm not sure they had enough water in the bowl in the shop and he was lying a bit on his side.

The problem is that he stays at the top of the tank and keeps his little side fins going endlessly to prop himself up there. I isolated him into his own little 1 gallon home and he's doing the same too. He never hides at the bottom of the tank like my old one did when he was healthy, who had 2 favorite hiding places. In fact, I don't see him descending at all. Yes, he was fed and I don't think looking for more food since he ate for Atison's Betta Food premium for about 4-5 minutes (about 10 pellets). On occasion he'll make some water bubbles.

Temperature is 76 F per my digital thermometer. ph is 6.8 and ammonia is almost zero. So given his behavior at the top of the tank, both in the big and small, is this all normal?

08-22-2007, 03:37 PM
Whoa, please tell me i'm not reading this right.....your gave your betta 10 pellets in a 4-5 minute time period? If thats right, that is most definitely atleast one of your problems right there! lol I give my betta at MAX 4 hikari betta bio-gold pellets a DAY. lol 2 in the morning, 2 at night. Occasionally switching it up with a tiny pinch of flakes and a brine shrimp.

08-22-2007, 11:54 PM
Whoa, please tell me i'm not reading this right.....your gave your betta 10 pellets in a 4-5 minute time period? If thats right, that is most definitely atleast one of your problems right there! lol I give my betta at MAX 4 hikari betta bio-gold pellets a DAY. lol 2 in the morning, 2 at night. Occasionally switching it up with a tiny pinch of flakes and a brine shrimp.
Well... it's probably 5-7 pellets twice a day (total of 10) but it's also different food. I read the Hikari Betta bio-gold instructions and they looked a little larger and instructions were 2-3 pellets twice a day. The Atison's was "as much as the fish will consume in a few minutes." My guy eats 1 or 2 pellets at a time and he can easily consume 4-6 pellets in a few minutes.

But if he's being overfed... shouldn't he sink to the bottom :c5: He's hanging out at the bottom of the small tank now. I think I will transfer him to the big tank...

08-23-2007, 12:50 AM
That is bad, that fish is being over fed. I feed mine like 3 pellets a day but he also gets other foods such as frozen. He will over eat, he won't stop eating when he is full.

08-23-2007, 01:45 AM
Fish food labels lie, atleast mine do.

If you're over feeding your betta on an everyday basis you have a very good chance of killing it. I'm not saying this to be rude or to come off as a "know-it-all" b/c that I am far from, but you need to be the regulator of what your betta eats. You give a kid a bag of candy and they're gonna eat the whole thing....and then your the one suffering with a sick kid.

A lot of bettas develop swim bladder problems from overfeeding and it can take around a week to recover from it. Some betta's have no self-control and will literally eat themselves to death.

Another nice piece of information ((Borrowed From Nippyfish.net))--

Fish pellet or flake food containers often say “Feed what your fish will eat in 5 minutes or until he stops eating.” This DOES NOT apply to bettas. In the wild their instinct is to eat as much as possible because they don't know when their next meal is coming. In a tank, however, we DO know when their next meal is coming. It is up to us to not overfeed our fish. Overfeeding can lead to water quality problems and illness not to mention obesity.

08-23-2007, 01:47 AM
Well said megan, I knew there was a reason I like you.:19:

08-23-2007, 01:56 AM
Lmao!! :) Thanks? hehehe

08-24-2007, 01:17 AM
LOL... good stuff about knowing when the next meal is coming. The fish know better about theirs than I do about mine. :)

OK - one last question. New betta is GORGEOUS as well. He's sort of a rainbow smattering of red, royal blue, and light blue. Problem is that in the tall 10 gallon hex tank the Penguin 100 filter is very strong. There is also an air pump as well. The water on top of the tank really moves. There is no valve on the Penguin to control it and I read somewhere that bettas prefer shallow, slow moving water. I REALLY want my betta to survive and be happy but I'm not sure he can adapt to this tank.

At work we've got 3 black guppies, a neon tetra and a small goldfish (we may remove). It's a smaller tank but slow moving water. My reservation is that there are 2 days requiring auto feeding and given what you say I'm not sure I like having to rely on the feeder. But it does seem to be a tank he might be happier in. In the big tank it looks like he's trying to find a quiet spot he can wedge in near the top and hang out. Does he want to create bubble nests that he won't be able to do because of the current? I need some help with this one. He used to be in my 1 gallon temporary portable tank and didn't look too thrilled.

08-24-2007, 01:25 AM
About the water movement from the airpump, it was suggested to me to get a Gang Valve, it regulates the air, which in turn regulates the speed and amout of force coming out.
http://www.petsmart.com/global/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=84552444181 1421&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302030092&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=2534374302023693&bmUID=1187918709638&itemNo=0&Ntt=gang+valve&In=All&previousText=gang+valve&N=2

HOWEVER, I do not know if that will affect your filter system by regulating it.....if nobody else responds to this, PM the mod, Drumachine09....he's the one who gave me the info on the gang valve I believe.