Betta lethargic & has Stringy White Poop....

Ouskamp

This is Roja. He was a beautiful deep red with 'glittering' sparkles when I got him. His color really started to come in and then...I lost my beloved furbaby. I would go in to feed my waterbabies but didn't spend a lot of time in my Betta room as I usually do (where I have 3 tanks). I did the water changes and made sure they were fed, did my 'gardening' in their tanks but didn't spend any real amount of time in that room as I usually do.

Last week I noticed Roja's color had completely faded from brilliant red (thus his name) to a rust color and his 3 color patches that ran along his backside were almost totally gone. I also noticed that he wasn't as lively as usual. He used to rush to the glass to say "Howdy!" and play along the glass while I talked to him. He would also gobble down his food. When I watched TV he would dance in the corner as if to say "look at me!" Now he just stays at the surface more or less.

I changed out 1/2 of his tank with Spring Water (used Prime) and added General Cure on Saturday morning. He was swimming around and playing in the outflow as he used to and was quite active. The water was a bit warmer and it appeared he liked it so I added another heater to warm up his tank a bit (it's 79 degrees now). I thought..HUZZAH! I figured it out! But NO...

Last night was second dose of GC (48 hours in between). Mind you, he hasn't eaten since last week. This morning I noticed a stringy white poop. Of course I was worried it could be a parasite so I ran to Dr. Google and read Cafishvet's article (attached link below). I sat in front of his tank and watched him and the 'poop' for quite some time. It doesn't have a life of it's own and it isn't split at the end. It floats around when he's in the flow of water but when he's in a 'quiet' corner of the tank, it just hangs below him. For these reasons, I don't believe it's a parasite. Cafishvet.com states "it is a clear indication your fish is not eating, but you should know that already if you watch them during feeding time. There is no medication we can give you to get rid of it, and it is a NORMAL function of your fishes’ digestion. And never withhold food unless directed by your aquatic veterinarian". However, the GC box mentions Wasting Disease as "excess mucus and white stringy feces are often produced as a result of parasitic invasion". UGH! What do I do?

Then the question is, how the heck could a solo fish that hasn't has anything added to the tank have parasites?! He isn't bloated. He isn't clamping. But he was never one to sit in the corner of his tank. He loved his Betta Log but I read a review that said they were killing Bettas so I took it out of his tank thinking he was poisoned. But I don't think that's it either. I admit, I likely overfed during those weeks where I was so out of it. But I wasn't expecting this sudden change.

Has anyone experienced this with their Betta? Did they survive? Any advice would be deeply appreciated. Thank you!

Roja's Worried Mom

Other Info:

Temp: 79

Tank Size: 6.5 Gallons

The API Freshwater Master Test Kit provided the following results..keep in mind that General Cure was added last night:
Ammonia (optimum 0ppm): 0ppm
Nitrite (optimum 0ppm): 0ppm
Nitrate (optimum 40ppm):
Ph: 7.6*

*according to Betta Fish Water Guide | What type, what parameters & treatments Betta fish will thrive in a water with a “neutral” pH of around 7.0. Most tap water pH will fall within a range of 6.5 to 7.5. I had previously reached out to our local Betta Guru and she advised me that Bettas will adapt to the Ph. The Ph of the rescue 'cup' water was also high. I do have API's Lower Ph but after reading the instructions, I'm concerned about adding it and shocking him.

*We have soft water so I switched him to Spring Water+ Prime in hopes it would make a difference.

*Water changes are done Weekly. However, this time it was 2 weeks due to losing my girl. That shouldn't have had a major impact in his tank quality.

*The shiny "glitter" spots you see are not parasites or ich. He's had them since I got him. Even has one over his eye (which is why he was almost named Bowie!).

White Stringy Poop in Fish - Aquatic Veterinary Services
Yes, the “white stringy poop” does look a lot like an internal parasite. But unless your fish have come into contact with any wild-caught fish, invertebrates or unsanitized décor items, the chance of them getting an internal parasite is slim to none. In the 7 years we have been in business, seeing over 500 clients, we have diagnosed it TWICE. The biggest different between an empty fecal cast and a parasite is that one is alive and the other is not.

it is a clear indication your fish is not eating, but you should know that already if you watch them during feeding time. There is no medication we can give you to get rid of it, and it is a NORMAL function of your fishes’ digestion. And never withhold food unless directed by your aquatic veterinarian.
 

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Rose of Sharon

Hi,

Your ph is fine. It's when the ph fluctuates that it will cause severe stress to your fish. And if you haven't introduced anything new to your tank, then the fish doesn't have parasites. My bettas have done the same thing with stringy type white poop and it wasn't because of parasites. Sometimes it can be a change in diet. Sometimes I can't find a real reason for it.

There are some parasites that live in fish bodies naturally, and those can come out when the fish is stressed (velvet for example). But you will definitely see other symptoms.

I would suggest adding some Indian almond leaf to your tank to add tannins to your water. It's a natural way to de-stress bettas, and is also a natural anitseptic. Keep up with your water changes, and keep checking your parameters. Look over his body closely daily to check for changes.

I hope he starts acting like his old self very soon!
 
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Ouskamp

Hi,

Your ph is fine. It's when the ph fluctuates that it will cause severe stress to your fish. And if you haven't introduced anything new to your tank, then the fish doesn't have parasites. My bettas have done the same thing with stringy type white poop and it wasn't because of parasites. Sometimes it can be a change in diet. Sometimes I can't find a real reason for it.

There are some parasites that live in fish bodies naturally, and those can come out when the fish is stressed (velvet for example). But you will definitely see other symptoms.

I would suggest adding some Indian almond leaf to your tank to add tannins to your water. It's a natural way to de-stress bettas, and is also a natural anitseptic. Keep up with your water changes, and keep checking your parameters. Look over his body closely daily to check for changes.

I hope he starts acting like his old self very soon!
Thank you SO much for taking time to reply. I really appreciate it.

I put him in a glass so I could see what was really going on and get a good pic. He behaved oddly in the glass, but then I would too (it was a martini glass after all)! Since I put him back in his tank, he is swimming around and not locked into a corner. But he's not himself. How long is this process? If that is what it is? I've had so many Betta's and have never seen this before. I feel horrible about it! Especially if it's because of something I've done..or moreover, didn't do.

Is what is shown in the new photo what mucus looks like?

Thank you again!

Where would I find Indian Almond Leaf? I live in a small town and would have to order it. So if you have a reputable Seller, please let me know.
 

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Ouskamp

* * ALL PARAMETER INFO IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST * *

Posted yesterday (Betta has stringy white poop) but have an updated photo from last night.

As of this morning, his top lip is gone. You can see in the photo I posted (the close up) that it is receding. ****? He is floating on his side and all color is faded. I thought I'd lost him. I ran to Google to see if I could find out what happened but the only thing that popped up is Columnaris and he didn't have any signs of that. I went back to the tank and he was on the other side of the tank, swimming in the waterflow from the pump. When he saw me, he swam to my side of the tank and then floated up on his side to the surface. I added Stress Coat and GC, although at this point, I don't believe it will help.

*Update a couple hours later..

He struggles to get above the surface for air with his missing upper lip which is now GONE. I moved his Betta leaf closer to the surface. I hope he'll use it. He is not floating on his side anymore. The stringy white 'poop' is gone. His color is totally faded. I know I'm losing him..I'm crushed.

I am beyond understanding how he got so sick. He lives alone with a Nerite snail that has lived in the tank for a couple years. Roja came to live with us 3-4 months ago (maybe less). I change all my Bettas water every 1-2 weeks. Usually 1 week, but after losing my furbaby, this time it was 2 weeks. There was NOTHING swimming around in the water with him. I just don't understand.......

Has anyone experienced this with their Betta? Did they survive? Any advice would be deeply appreciated. Thank you!

Roja's Worried Mom

Other Info:

*We have soft water so I switched him to Spring Water+ Prime in hopes it would make a difference.

*Water changes are done Weekly. However, this time it was 2 weeks due to losing my girl. That shouldn't have had a major impact in his tank quality.

*The shiny "glitter" spots you see are not parasites or ich (they are iridescent scales). He's had them since I got him. Even has one over his eye (which is why he was almost named Bowie!).

White Stringy Poop in Fish - Aquatic Veterinary Services
"Yes, the “white stringy poop” does look a lot like an internal parasite. But unless your fish have come into contact with any wild-caught fish, invertebrates or unsanitized décor items, the chance of them getting an internal parasite is slim to none. In the 7 years we have been in business, seeing over 500 clients, we have diagnosed it TWICE. The biggest different between an empty fecal cast and a parasite is that one is alive and the other is not."

"it is a clear indication your fish is not eating, but you should know that already if you watch them during feeding time. There is no medication we can give you to get rid of it, and it is a NORMAL function of your fishes’ digestion. And never withhold food unless directed by your aquatic veterinarian."



Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 6.5 gallons
How long has the tank been running? a couple years
Does it have a filter? yes but removed carbon filter when I added General Cure
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 79
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) Koi Betta and Nirite snail plus annoying small snails that snuck in on plants.

Maintenance

How often do you change the water? Weekly *went 2 weeks this round but generally 1 week is my rule of thumb
How much of the water do you change? 1-2 gallons
What do you use to treat your water? PRIME
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Both

*Parameters - Very Important

Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? API Freshwater Master Test Kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”. I'm sure people say this because according to the chart the kit has, they are falling in the areas considered SAFE.

Ammonia: (optimum 0ppm): 0ppm
Nitrite: (optimum 0ppm): 0ppm
Nitrate: (optimum 40ppm): 10-20ppm (both colors look the same to me on the chart) *could the General Cure be affecting these numbers?
pH: 7.6
*according to Betta Fish Water Guide | What type, what parameters & treatments Betta fish will thrive in a water with a “neutral” pH of around 7.0. Most tap water pH will fall within a range of 6.5 to 7.5. I had previously reached out to our local Betta Guru and she advised me that Bettas will adapt to the Ph. The Ph of the rescue 'cup' water was also high. I do have API's Lower Ph but after reading the instructions, I'm concerned about adding it and shocking him.

Feeding

How often do you feed your fish? AM
How much do you feed your fish? a pinch these last couple weeks
What brand of food do you feed your fish? API Betta
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? After water change they get frozen shrimp (defrosted of course)

Illness & Symptoms

How long have you had this fish? 3-4 months
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? began noticing changes in the last few days
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? lethargic, kissing surface, white stringy poop
Have you started any treatment for the illness? General Cure
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? Not by appearance
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Color has faded and is lethargic staying at surface
 

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Rose of Sharon

Wow....I am so sorry! From the 2nd pic, it just looks like regular poop to me. I admit that I am puzzled. The water parameters are still good. If you weren't testing your water, I would say that it sounds like ammonia poisoning. Usually body damage like that (sudden damage) happens when the fish injures himself on something in the tank. The other instance that I know of would be caused by a fungal infection, but you would see signs of that on his body. The other symptoms that you list - the loss of color, not eating, trouble breathing and swimming, could be signs of a few differnt things.

If you didn't have a snail, I would recommend using aquarium salt to help with the breathing issue, or any unseen body issue.

I have had bettas for a few years now, and I have not run into something like this.

Maybe someone else who reads this could provide more insight.

Oh, about the Indian almond leaves...I order mine through Amazon. There are a couple of sellers there. And I think the large pet stores carry it, too (pet smart/pet co).

Again, I am so sorry, both for your betta and your furbaby. I will look through some of my fish disease books and see if there is anything that fits what you are describing. The web sites are good for some info, but I find that some reference books can be even better.
 
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Rose of Sharon

Hi,
I hope that your little guy is starting to feel ok. From what I have read, the breathing issue is a symptom of many things, but the floating to the top of the tank on his side sounds like a swim bladder problem.
The medicine that you are using is mostly for paristic infestations. It is true that parasitic infections can lead to other issues, like bacterial infections. Since there are no other symptoms of a parasitic infestation (unless you have something new to add to his list of symptoms) I think I might switch to or add an antibiotic that treats bacterial infections. There are plenty of over the counter meds that you can get for this from your fish/pet store. My go to is Kanaplex, which will work for both gram negative and some gram positive infections. I also have used a cocktail of meds, including 2 types of antibiotics, if necessary. Lots of people do not agree with using antibiotics, but if you need to use one to save your fish, then do so.

The other alternative is to move him to a hospital setting, and use aquarium salt along with the meds that you are using now.

I also like to use Stressguard, by Seachem, along with Prime to help with stress. It is a antiseptic which helps if the fish has any kind of outward wound.

I hope this is some help to you. Hang in there!
 
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Ouskamp

I lost Roja yesterday. I cried because I lost him and I cried because I'm glad his suffering had ended. It's so hard to see that and not be able to rush him off to a vet as I can do with my furries. I can't thank you enough for your insight and for taking time to try to help me. I appreciate it more than you know.

I have opted not to purchase any more waterbabies. While they are beautiful, I only have 1 Betta that has lived more than 2 years. I spoke with people in the aquatic departments at PetSmart and Petco and they agree that they are so overbred that they aren't likely to have the same lifespan or health as a hobby breeder. Nonetheless, I also believe they are like rescues and deserve to have good lives, even if cut short. However, none of them passing from old age is heartbreaking.
Hi,
I hope that your little guy is starting to feel ok. From what I have read, the breathing issue is a symptom of many things, but the floating to the top of the tank on his side sounds like a swim bladder problem.
The medicine that you are using is mostly for paristic infestations. It is true that parasitic infections can lead to other issues, like bacterial infections. Since there are no other symptoms of a parasitic infestation (unless you have something new to add to his list of symptoms) I think I might switch to or add an antibiotic that treats bacterial infections. There are plenty of over the counter meds that you can get for this from your fish/pet store. My go to is Kanaplex, which will work for both gram negative and some gram positive infections. I also have used a cocktail of meds, including 2 types of antibiotics, if necessary. Lots of people do not agree with using antibiotics, but if you need to use one to save your fish, then do so.

The other alternative is to move him to a hospital setting, and use aquarium salt along with the meds that you are using now.

I also like to use Stressguard, by Seachem, along with Prime to help with stress. It is a antiseptic which helps if the fish has any kind of outward wound.

I hope this is some help to you. Hang in there!
I lost him a couple days ago.
 
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SG15

Hi, my cutie has been having similar issues, initially thought was constipation but it has been more than a week. Her poop has been long and stringy and takes a long time to drop.
Since yesterday she has been fussy with food but she is still very active.
She has been in a hospital tank with epsom salt and some medication for the last 2 weeks. Sharing a pic of her and the long poop. Any one experienced the same situation before? Is there anything I can do?
 

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SG15

Showed her to a vet via tele consult, was told it’s parasites. She has been prescribed anti biotics and prazi, added to her water for 3 days now. Poop is getting thicker and drops quicker. Hope she gets well fully..
 
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