Betta Has Strange Discoloration. Please Help! Help

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by bettafish247, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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    20190102_171638.20190104_180836.

    These first two photos are of Obie "before" the whitish color patch of scales behind his head.

    20190817_201618.
    These last two photos are of Obie "after" the recent scale discoloration developed behind his head. See circled in yellow in photo below.
    20190817_202355.
    Tank

    What is the water volume of the tank? 13 lbs (5.5 gal tank)
    How long has the tank been running? 1 year
    Does it have a filter? yes
    Does it have a heater? yes
    What is the water temperature? 80 degrees
    What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 1 male half moon betta fish, 2 marimo moss balls.

    Maintenance
    How often do you change the water? Every two weeks and as needed
    How much of the water do you change? 50%
    What do you use to treat your water? Seachem Prime, Garlic Guard, Stress Guard, Flourish. API Quickstart, API Aquarium Salt, Boyd Enterprises Vitachem. Kordon Fish Protector.
    Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Both

    *Parameters - Very Important
    Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? No but it's been fully cycled, balanced and tested for many months.
    What do you use to test the water? API test kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH.
    What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

    Ammonia: 0 ppm
    Nitrite: 0 ppm
    Nitrate: 0 ppm
    pH: 7.4 - 7.5

    Feeding
    How often do you feed your fish? Twice daily. Fasts one day a week.
    How much do you feed your fish? 3-4 pellets OR blood worms OR daphnia - about the size of his stomach
    What brand of food do you feed your fish? NorthFin pellets and Hikari freeze-dried
    Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? pellets and freeze-dried

    Illness & Symptoms
    How long have you had this fish? 1 year
    How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 3-4 days ago
    In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? no symptoms yet. only visible appearance change.
    Have you started any treatment for the illness? no
    Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
    How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? no behavior change so far, appearance change only. Strange scale discoloration

    Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

    A few days ago, my betta developed a strange discoloration on the scales behind his head. It is a rather large spot that's whitish, cloudy and semi-transparent. It has not changed in size or shape since the first day. Perhaps the only change I've seen visibly is it got less whitish and closer to his normal scale colors. His behavior has not altered. He still behaves like he's healthy and active.

    Could this have been caused by him simply bumping into something? If so, will it just heal on its own?

    I don't think it's Ich. It's not a bunch of tiny white dots, just the one patch. I don't think it's lymphocystis either. The patch doesn't have an opaque, bulging, cauliflower or fuzzy/cotton look. It's smooth and flush against his body. But if someone thinks it may be something I tried to rule out here please enlighten me!

    WHAT IS THIS AND WHAT TREATMENT DOES HE NEED? COULD IT POSSIBLY CLEAR UP ON ITS OWN? WHAT CAN I DO FOR HIM? THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!!

    Also, it's time for me to change his water and vacuum the gravel, but I don't want to cause any stress if he may be ill. Do you think it's safe for me to clean his tank now? (He normally has NO trouble with me doing anything in his tank. He's fearless. Always curiously swimming right into the middle of the action instead of away and hiding)

    Previous health history: My betta has had torn fins for a long time. They first began to shred when I moved him from his 1.5 gal tank to his current 5.5 gal. I tried several safe treatments when I thought he possibly had fin rot or another bacterial infection. Now, I don't think he was ever sick with an infection before, but he hasn't grown his fins back.

    I've taken every possible precaution in setting up and maintaining his tank. I covered the filter intake with soft material and added a baffle so the outflow was gentle. The bubbles from his bubbler are tiny and gentle. He loves to bite and chase them a lot. I've sanded down his ornaments to great extent and his plants are all artificial silk. It's a safe environment, but he still plays rough and hasn't been able to regrow his fins back to their full glory. He's a very vigorous, active boy with an eager appetite (I'm careful to never overfeed).

    Even though he's been fine otherwise, could his fins that have been continuously torn for months have caused this white discoloration?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  2. Demeter

    DemeterFishlore VIPMember

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    Can you post some before/after photos? Could be a natural color change if he is behaving normally and otherwise fine.
     
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    bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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    Ok. I finished updating the situation with photos etc in my original post. Could this be a natural color change if it is a patch like this though?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  4. Demeter

    DemeterFishlore VIPMember

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    Ok so not a normal color change, could be a skin infection though. Is he acting itchy at all? As for possible treatments, I'd likely try some medicated baths. Methylene blue can be used for most minor skin/fin issues, salt baths may help too.
     
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    bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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    No I haven't seen him acting like he's itchy. No scratching/rubbing on anything.

    I add API freshwater aquarium salt to his tank every time I do a water change, but I don't think this is what you consider a "salt bath" right? What is the salt bath treatment you recommend?

    I haven't tried Methylene blue before. Do you have to remove your filter cartridge while adding it? If yes, how long do you have to keep the cartridge out before putting it back in?

    As a kind of "medicated bath", I did try a 3% peroxide treatment, 3 times in December to try to treat his fins, in case he had fin rot. It didn't do anything. I also used up a bottle of Seachem StressGuard, but that had no effect on his fins either. I have API Furan-2. I used it after I tried the peroxide treatments when I thought he had fin rot. I hoped it would improve his fins and help them grow back. I couldn't tell that it helped anything.

    Does anyone recommend I try this API Furan-2 again? Or do the peroxide treatment again? Or StressGuard? Or simply a series of water changes - like 50% changed daily for 5 days or something? Other ideas to treat this scale discoloration?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  6. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    I'd probably try Paraguard first since I think MB can stain... It's a dye. I'd probably use it in a QT tank.

    Furan-2 is probably worth a try to see if it's a bacterial thing, plus you have it on hand.

    It could be a fungus, but it sounds like it's not growing on the scales?
     
  7. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    Also, why are your nitrates at zero? When did you last do a water change? Nitrates mean nitrites have been converted to nitrates, so I'm confused. If you water change every 2 weeks, I'd expect some nitrates.

    Do you use these with each water change?

    Why? What is your reason for this?
     
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    bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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    I suppose I could try the Furan-2 first sure. I haven't heard of Paraguard. Why do you suggest putting him in a QT tank to add it? Is it because it might alter the nitrogen cycle? Or because I would otherwise have to take the filter cartridge out of his tank filter? Or?

    It could be a fungus. I'm really not sure if it's growing on top of the scales or if his scales have just been changed. If it's growing on top, it is super thin because it is pretty much flush against his body.
     
  9. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    Well, with the methylene blue, because it's blue and a dye, it may stain or discolor stuff in your aquarium.

    Paraguard treats bacteria, fungus, external parasites, and viruses. It's safe to use in the main tank and I've used it with live plants and snails. It's not super strong, either, to the point where it's a last resort sort of thing, and I've used it myself. Well, for the fish, not for me.

    There's lots of different kinds of bacteria and fungi, so it's hard to say what med is best to use in a particular circumstance.
    Furan-2 is wide-spectrum antibacterial as it treats some gram-negative and some gram-positive bacterial issues. Chewy.com's product description says "It contains two furan compounds, effective antimicrobials that combat gill disease, mouth fungus, furunculosis, black molly disease, fin and tail rot and dropsy."
     
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    bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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    Sometimes my water changes are more like every 2-3 weeks. The water tests show everything balanced normally. So I've been able to change the water out less frequently since the need is less. I last changed it on 8/6 and I'll change it again asap. I just want to be sure he's not too sick and needs to be left alone before I change it again.

    With each water change, I use: Seachem Prime, API Quickstart, API Aquarium Salt, and Kordon Fish Protector. I haven't used StressGuard for months. I add Flourish to his tank once a week or less often for his marimo moss balls. I use Vitachem an Garlic Guard only with certain feedings.

    I add the freshwater aquarium salt with each water change because of my research. I read aquarium salt is especially good for bettas with fin rot. Iv'e continued using it since it helps in healing other diseases too. It's not harmful in small amounts. It also reduces nitrite, promotes healthy gill function and increases electrolytes which improve overall health. Instead of the salt irritating the skin to force them to create extra slime coat, it really helps them make more slime naturally. I recommend reading some FishLore VIP and Valued, Well Known Members comments. I believe they back this up and make a lot of sense! Here's a link to a forum about using salt. Perhaps this will help debunk some myths about it.

    Medicine Or Salt To Cure Betta - Ok Let’s Settle This
     
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    bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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    Alright, so I just won't use methylene blue. I think I used it years ago and didn't like it anyway. I guess I'll try the Furan-2 since I already have it but I'll be happy to try the Paraguard if the other treatment isn't successful. Paraguard definitely sounds like a good one, especially since it's hard to diagnose what kind of fungi or bacteria this might be. And it might cover a broader spectrum of illnesses than Furan-2.

    I haven't fully decided on my course of action yet though. I'm still open to suggestions for now but I will start treating my betta today or tomorrow. Thanks for the input!! Any other thoughts anyone?
     
  12. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    It's commonly recommend changing every week, but I don't think it's essential. I know lots of people who only change when nitrates reach a certain level; some well-known YouTubers such as Cory from Aquarium Co-Op have suggested doing this at around 40ppm. I think you're fine. My issue is the fact that you have 0 nitrates. Do you always have 0?

    If your tank is properly cycled and maintained and the fish healthy, I don't see the point in adding Quickstart or even the Kordon.

    You're assuming I don't already know all this. I was just curious as to your reasoning. Sometimes people do things because they heard or read or was recommended it and don't know what they're actually doing or why they're doing it. I know the uses and potential benefits, but I have very hard water with lots of minerals already in it and my fish don't have any true need for additional salt--and I have platies and mollies, which are very often advised or even said to require salt (not true). Plus salt is only removed through water changes, so it can build up. I'm bad at keeping track of things.
    Although I'm a big fan of "better-safe-than-sorry" and "just-in-case" philosophies, I also am an advocate of the "don't-do-what's-not-absolutely-necessary" philosophy. I'm pretty lazy and also don't trust products or add-ons to do everything for me. Preventative measures can do more harm than good, so I try not to give in. These are just my preferences and beliefs. I just wanted to find out more info cuz, as I said, sometimes people don't think for themselves and/or do research on their own and blindly follow advice or recommendations without any real knowledge and then wonder why something is going wrong.
     
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    bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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    So I just thought I'd go ahead and explain my stand on freshwater aquarium salt clearly. I've been in other forums on Fishlore and there was a wide debate on salt. I've seen it create some big discussions before! I thought I'd explain my own reasons so you wouldn't have to ask me more questions about it. I did a lot of research and engaged in debates to hear the variety of knowledge and opinions from others to form my own understanding and make a decision on whether or not it was best to add salt to my betta tank. :)
     
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    bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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  15. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    That's fine, no big deal. As long as you understand the pros and cons and have done plenty of research, as you evidently have done, it's not my place to say anything as the decision is totally up to you. Too many people just go along with what others say and I help people all the time who don't understand what they're doing and sometimes end up making their fish worse or sick, so I feel the need to question anything that puts up flags for me and make sure that's not the case.

    Your second post quotes me but doesn't have anything written..
     
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    bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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    It's nice of you to try and help and teach people so they can make better informed decisions for their fish care:). Thanks for helping me too.
    As for the part where you said I didn't have anything written, I did write something. But I probably put it in a weird place between paragraphs by accident. I'll try putting up your note and my response again. Is this a response you haven't seen yet?
    "It's commonly recommend changing every week, but I don't think it's essential. I know lots of people who only change when nitrates reach a certain level; some well-known YouTubers such as Cory from Aquarium Co-Op have suggested doing this at around 40ppm. I think you're fine. My issue is the fact that you have 0 nitrates. Do you always have 0?

    It's hard to say for sure if I always have 0. Since the results are based on comparing the color of water in the tube with the color on the test kit card. The results are only as clear as one's eyesight. So as far as I can tell, it's 0 ppm or pretty low, like maybe to 5ppm ish. Also, I've heard others say that the results from the API Master Test kit for ammonia, pH, nitrite and nitrate can be a little off from the true water conditions.

    Whenever I can, I use natural remedies first. For example, I always have mopani wood and marimo moss balls in his tank to naturally help balance the bacteria and ph, emit oxygen and reduce nitrates. I'd be happy to do any natural medicinal things I can to help my betta, but it sounds like I need to do a wide-spectrum not-so-natural treatment like Furan-2 or Paraguard since it's unclear what kind of fungal or bacterial problem he may have. At least to start."
     
  17. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    Ah, somehow your reply got inside the quote box and I didn't bother expanding it since I know what I wrote.

    I'm more inclined to do gentle remedies more than completely natural, myself. Things like Melafix, Pimafix, Bettafix are weak natural products that a lot of people rave about for minor things and healing but are often not effective against serious or real issues. I see people post all the time about how they tried those and their fish isn't getting any better. I guess that's why I'm put off since I've never tried them.
    On the other hand, I never recommend antibiotics or stronger meds unless I know for sure it's needed like with dropsy and in some cases of bad Popeye, or until other treatments have made tried first. Things like Kanaplex (kanamycin) that are absorbed internally make me wary using without knowing if it's necessary since I don't like to subject my fish's internal organs to meds unless it's necessary. Plus bacteria and such do become immune to these meds; overuse of fish antibiotics is why countries like Canada, the UK, and I think Australia, to mention a few, have bans on them and other fish meds, which sucks when they're needed.
     
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    bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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    Well I'd say your approach sounds very good to me. I like to use other gentle remedies too like Seachem products. I hope this doesn't turn into something serious and need antibiotics. But if I do need some, I hope there's something not banned that I can get. What's the name of a good available one? I think it'd just be good to know in the offchance I need some later on. Kanaplex or something else?

    I gave him the 2nd of 4, Furan-2 doses tonight and noticed the patch seems to have grown in size. It's now extending down his back along his spine. :( His behavior is perhaps a little different too. He's resting more. Not quite as active as his normal self. Still a good appetite though. I turned off his Life Flow internal power filter when I added the meds. Do you think that's necessary or could I leave it on to flow through the filter cartridge? Or how soon could I turn it back on after adding the meds? I'm putting it straight into his tank, not in a quarantine tank.
     
  19. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

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    Do you have a filter cartridge with activated carbon in it? If so, the carbon will remove the med from the water, so that's a problem. Also, does the cartridge or media remain wet when you turn it off? If it dries out, bacteria might die. I actually turn my filter off on my 25 gallon nearly every night so food doesn't get sucked up before the fish can eat it (my filter is 2x more than needed for this tank size, so it's really strong). I don't have any problems doing this for less than an hour, but everyone's setups are different. Just something to be cautious about. Just reread you have an internal filter...
    If you don't have carbon, I believe Furan-2 is filter safe and the filter can still be run while medicating.

    Kanaplex can treat bacterial infections and you could use it. Paraguard is pretty broad-spectrum as it can treat various external parasites, bacterial infections, fungus, and viruses. I'd personally try that first if Furan-2 doesn't work. Speaking of which, you might as well finish up the furan-2 treatment before moving on.

    Actual salt baths might be something you'd want to try. You could do those in conjunction with the furan treatment.
     
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    bettafish247

    bettafish247Valued MemberMember

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    My cartridge DOES have activated carbon in it. So I guess I have to not run the filter until the Furan-2 doses are completed in the next 48 hours. :/ I just hope having his filter off for a total of 96 hours doesn't mess up his tank's bacteria or nitrogen cycle etc.

    Ok my game plan is currently: finish Furan-2 doses. If that's ineffective, try Paraguard. If that doesn't work, I can try Kanaplex. After the last dose of of these treatments, how long would you expect it would take to see results if one medicine is helping? If one medicine is not helping, how long should I wait before trying out the next one?

    What do you recommend for the salt bath treatment? Do you mean use epsom salt? How is that done?
    Thanks again.
     
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