Betta with fungal (?) disorder

  • #1
Somebody please advice....I got a male betta at the pet store 10 days ago. He is in a 2 gal bowl, with gravel and a plastic plant. I did a first water change after a week and also changed the water conditioner from Kent Freshwater to Aqua safe (as I was told this was a better product). The very next day I found the fish behaving strangely. Movements were erratic and jerky and it was either listless and unresponsive laying either on top or bottom of the tank or "flashing" (rubbing itself against plant - in quick jerky movements). I also noticed a thin film of cottony stuff on its body. The pet store advised me to use Maracyn - a quarter tab every day - which I have been doing together with a quarter tank water change. I use a small syphon to get the water out and refill the tank using reconditioned water. I am nor sure how much of the gunk gets of the gravel though with this method - the water is murky at the bottom most days with the meds. Today is day number three of the treatment and there are no signs of improvement. He is eating okay - I feed 5-6 pellets once a day. Should I add salt? Temp in the house is 80 degrees - so I figured water temp should be fine. Please help.
  • #2
Yes, you should add salt(aquarium salt, NOT table salt!), about 1/2 teaspoon should be good(remember to add 1/4 of that for quarter water changes). The temp. is fine, but be sure to keep the room your Betta's in the same temp. because you can't use a heater in a bowl. Bettas are pretty sensitive to water cleanliness, so you might want to remove the gravel because it's hard to keep clean. You got your Betta 10 days ago? If you set the tank up right before you got him, it has not finished cycling. Go to to read about the Nitrogen Cycle. Use the product Cycle to speed up the process and keep up the water changes. Also, I'd try Aquari-Sol instead of Maracyn--it described a parasite exactly like what you were describing on the package(I keep some because I'm getting Bettas, too). About his diet, pellets are pretty boring and may not have enough protien, so I recommend feeding freeze-dried bloodworms & freeze-dried brine shrimp at least several times a week. And I highly recommend the site betta talk, which tells you everything you need to know about keeping Bettas and is an awesome site.

Hope this helps!

P.S. Thanks for keeping your Betta in a nice big bowl instead of those tiny ones some people use--your Betta will appreciate it & live longer, too.
  • #3
Do you really have to add salt to your tank? Ive heard of adding salt to fresh water tanks before but my fish seem really happy in just normal freshwater. what are the benefits of salt?
  • #4
Of course you don't HAVE to add salt to your water, but it just helps keep your fish healthy. Like, if your fish get stressed and lose some of their slime coat, it helps to replace it, which helps keep them from getting sick. Also, it can help treat some diseases such as Ich. For most freshwater tanks, 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons is good (I use a little less for Bettas). You can get cartons of it really cheap at pretty much any store that sells fish.
  • #5
ok, so if I go through a bad patch I should try salt, yeah? what's ich?
  • #6
ich is white spot
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Thanks for the advice - betta has recovered necely and is doing fine and busy building bubble nest. Think the salt and medis did the job ;D
  • #8
I'm glad your Betta's better! They're sure tough little fish. The first Betta I got actually managed to fall down the drain while I was transferring him to his bowl. :-\ My dad got home from work about an hour later, took apart the pipes, and got him out of the dirty water and put him in his bowl...and he survived the whole thing!
  • #9
Keeping a betta in a small bowl would require a lot of monitoring and water changes (as required). Btw, are you using any filter?? in the bowl...
  • #10
We are trying to encourage the practice of keeping of Bettas in small bowls to cease due to the lack of filtration and heat. It is just not a good or decent thing to do to a tropical fish.

  • #11
HI all,

Very new to fishkeeping. Just wondering if the white spot near his eye is fungus? We're treating him with Rid-Fungus at the moment and wanted to confirm this is the correct medication to use.

One more thing, should I continue with routine water changes during medication?

  • #12
I think so but I'm not sure.
  • #13
It could be a fungal type of infection or it could be a small parasitic thing. You can try Rid Fungus and yes you can do water changes as directed in the directions of the medications unless the tank is not cycled then you will need to do them anyway to keep the ammonia levels down. You did not specify if the tank is cycled and we do really need to know if the tank is cycled already and if it is filtered and heated. Do you suppose you could let us know.

We need to know the temperature the tank is kept at and the ammonia readings, nitrite readings and nitrate readings if you can get them please. Could you also let us know how long you have had your tank and your betta and his name if he has one? (we like to refer to them by name if we can as they have great personalities.) Could you also let us know what water conditioner or anything else you add to your water and what you feed him and how much? How often you change his water and how much at a time? I realize this is a lot of information but it will really help us to help you and him. Thank you and welcome to the site and the Betta Board.

  • #14
Ok, I'll try to make this short.

Wife and kids bought him so I don't know if he had this condition at the store. His name is Harold and his roommate is a golden mystery snail named Sheldon. It's possible the fungus was introduced when we first had him in a small bowl with no heater.

As I am new to all this I do not have water testing equipment yet. I learned a lot just searching through these forums so I'm starting to get familiar with all that is needed to care for bettas. Bought a heater, filter, and a bigger tank (only 2.5 gallon but still bigger than the bowl). After putting him in the new tank he was looking a lot more active. The tank is about two weeks old now. I believe it is cycled only because the water was cloudy for a few days when we first put him in and now it has cleared. The water is at a constant 80 degrees. The filter is a whisper filter that submerges inside the tank. I took the carbon out for the medication.

For water changes I use tap water that I store in a big water jug with a few drops of StressCoat. I do about a 25% water change every other day at the moment. I recently bought a gravel vacuum but can't seem to get a hang of it. I feel like I get more water than anything else and just stressing them out more than I need to. I might try a turkey baster next time.

I read through the rid-fungus instructions several times and I don't recall seeing any information about water changes.
<edit> Just reread the instructions again. All it says about water change is to do a 20% change at the end of treatment <edit>

Wife thinks I'm nuts but I'm determined to keep Harold alive. We've had bad luck with gold fishes in the past.

Thanks for all your help!
  • #15
I am doubting the cycle is done yet. If you are cycling with fish in the tank it can take 4 to 6 weeks. You will need to get a test for ammonia at least to make sure it is not becoming toxic but to be really sure a daily change of at least 50% of the water will make sure you are not letting it get toxic. You would be surprised how fast it can get that way and the snail is adding a lot of bioload to the water. They are little but they poo a LOT.

You are doing good keeping the water at that temperature and I do congratulate you for all you are doing for Harold and Sheldon (love the names) and the betta is gorgeous. He will be okay and probably do okay with the Rid Fungus but the water changes will complicate the medication process a bit. I am going to notify Dave (one of our other mods) to chime in here as he has a lot more experience with that particular med and can advice you to its use in an uncycled tank. For tonight just use the amount recommended for the 2.5 gallon tank and then face the water change in the morning. *You may want to do the water a change before dosing the tank just to start out with the ammonia at its lowest. Sorry to put you through this but with the tank not being cycled for sure, and with no sure ammonia levels, better to be safe than sorry. Ammonia is the #1 killer of fish.

  • #16
Thanks for the quick response Rose!

The water changes are easy with such a small bowl. It's the cleaning of the gravel that I can't figure out yet. I'll be sure to change the water before each daily dose of Rid Fungus.

Adding Sheldon was my fault. I'm a sucker for the kids sad faces. next time I'll be sure to visit the pet store by myself.
  • #17
Hey, welcome to Fishlore.

I would recommend Prime for conditioning the water, especially since the tank is uncycled. The Prime will help lock the toxins and protect Harold & Sheldon.

Rose's advice on water changes is good. It would be better to keep up on water changes and add Rid-Fungus after each change than running into ammonia poisoning. I've never actually used it in an uncycled tank, but it won't hinder the cycling. It will affect the test results some though.

A turkey baster is the thing to use for cleaning a 2.5g tank. That's what we use and it's much less stressful for the Betta and you.

If you can find them - Vita-Chem, Fish Protector and Garlic Boost are all good aids in helping a Betta get better. Also, feeding him Hikari-brand frozen bloodworms can help. 3 of them thawed per meal, 2 meals a day. The protein in them is helpful. You can thaw a cube in a small sealable container with clean treated tap water in it and store in the fridge for up to a week so that you waste less.

Harold also would benefit from some daily attention. They love to be talked to and it can translate into physical health. We wish you the best of luck with him and please keep us updated on his progress and any change in that spot.
  • #18
Thanks all.

For now I'm going to stick with what I have and hope the white spot clears. I'll do daily water changes before each dose of Rid Fungus. I've been spending WAY too much on fish supplies... need to curb that for awhile.

On a side note, I was not doing water changes during medication because of the Fish Fungus article on this site. Here is the excerpt...

Fungus can be somewhat difficult to treat, however, our recommendation in treatment would be Maracyn, Maracyn II or Rid Fungus. A 50% water change should be made before the dosage is applied as partial water changes cannot be done during the time in which treatment is in process as it weakens the medication. When the treatment is complete, a 50% should be done again to help remove the medication.

Here is the link to the entire article...
  • #19
Well that is true but it only applies to cycled tanks and that is because the filter will be taking care of the ammonia. In this case we have to contradict that because the ammonia is going to kill the Harold and Sheldon if we do not have you do the water changes. It is an exception that is necessary in your case only this time. You are a special case.


Tell Harold to relax and just get well soon. We want to hear he is doing well.
  • #20
Yet another question Rose.

The directions for Rid Fungus says I could double the dose for serious infections. Since I'm doing daily water changes do you think it will be safe to double the dosage. Maybe a single dose in the morning (with water change) and a single dose at night (without water change)?

Thanks again for the help.
  • #21
Give it a few days with the single dose and see if he responds at all with any change in the size of the spot. If you are not seeing any improvement or if it is enlarging we can always increase to a second dose. I always hate to start with the strongest case and then we have nowhere to go. Let's start smaller and if that is not effective enough we have a second alternative.

Keep me informed but do not expect to see a change for at least 3 or 4 days. It takes about 4 days for most of the Fungal meds to do their thing that I have tried.

  • #22
Good point.

I already put in some more meds tonight but not quite a full single dose. I'll leave it at a single dose only in the morning from now on and wait it out. I guess I just need to exercise a little patience here.

  • #23
Wow vinht, it seems you're a really caring new betta parent (and human kid parent, too) and it's so good you're asking these questions and have read as much as you have read on FishLore. I like the names Harold and Sheldon, too. Sheldon is a hoot of a name for a snail.

I don't have anything to add med- or water-change wise, other than to follow the excellent advice given here and to wish you best of luck with Harold.
  • #24
One of our Bettas.. our Red Combtail Mickey tore his top fin showing off for the new female Betta in the tank next to him and it developed a fungus in the tear. I started adding Rid-Fungus to his tank Thursday night and tonight the fungus was gone. Nothing seemed to be happening with it until tonight when it just disappeared. And I even did a partial water change this afternoon. I hope this encourages you with your little guy and treating his fungus. I've used Rid-Fungus several times and every time it's done the job. It just takes a little bit to kick in, like Rose mentioned.
  • #25
Update on Harold...

Day 5 on Rid-Fungus and still no evidence that the white spot is clearing. I noticed recently that his rear tail appears a bit more translucent and his bottom fin seems to be "tearing" a bit. He also seems to be more agitated with Sheldon as well.

He's been flaring a lot more lately (I'm assuming every now and then he sees his own reflection) and have been obsessed with the filter. I came home early today to find Harold stuck underneath the filter.

Not sure where to go from here. ???

By the way, besides getting stuck underneath the filter he's been swimming just fine. He's also eating fine.
  • #26

I would say that he is going to need an antibiotic in the form of Triple Sulfa or TrI Sulfa whichever you are able to get for the fin problem. It sounds like he is developing finrot too.

The nice thing is that the treatment of finrot that has been working the best here is:

Triple Sulfa in combination with Rid Fungus
VitaChem Vitamins
Fish Protector to aid in fin regrowth for those who have minor or major fin loss.

You already have been treating with the Rid Fungus but the Triple Sulfa may be needed to put the treatment over the hill. You already have the tank at a nice 80 degrees and the carbon out for medicating so an antibiotic is the next step and the Triple Sulfa is the treatment that seems to work the best and will not disturb the cycle process. The dosing on the Triple Sulfa may become a bit complex with the water changes but I think that I can walk you through it.

Day 1 use 1/4 packet or tablet depending on what form of the meds you get..powder or tablet

Day 2 after water change use 1/3 packet or 1/3 tablet (close as you can get)

Day 3 after water change use 1/3 packet or 1/3 tablet

Day 4 after water change use 1/3 packet or 1/3 tablet

Day 5 after water change use 1/3 packet or 1/3 tablet

Day 6 do 50% water change and give 1/4 packet or 1/4 tablet

Day 7-10 repeat days 2-5

Day 11 repeat Day 6

Day 12-14 repeat days 2-4

These are directions only for uncycled 2.5 gallon tanks. Otherwise the dosages would be as stated on the box. The box will also state that the med should not be given for longer than 10 days but when we spoke to a representative of the company that make Triple Sulfa she stated that for stubborn conditions like finrot the medication could and probably should be extended as above.

At the end of 14 days you discontinue the medication and do a 50% water change and return the carbon to the filter to remove any residual medication from your tank. This is as long as you should use this med without a break. If the finrot is not resolved then other things can be used at this point but they may affect your cycle and this would be hard on Harold too.

The above treatment is very effective and most of the members have had wonderful luck with it when the fins have not started to suffer major damage. The longer it is left untreated, the more likely it is to become a chronic condition and then it is very hard to deal with. I wish the absolute best to both you and Harold and do hope that he is nicer to Sheldon.

Please do keep us informed and try not to worry too much. We have most of us suffered with our little ones having finrot at one time or another and they do get better. You are just having a harder time in the tank with it being uncycled right now.

  • #27
I really appreciate the detailed response. Thanks!

I just have a couple more questions. Are you suggesting I use both medications, Rid-Fungus and TrI Sulfa? Also, when I removed the carbon I'm sure there were some remnants of carbon still left in the filter. I'm talking about little microscopic pieces. Will any tiny bit of carbon affect medication?

I guess I have nothing to lose but try Tri-Sulfa at this point. Lets hope this works. Other than the fungus and possible fin rot, Harold seems healthy (swims around a lot and eats fine). I do find it interesting that he all of a sudden started "bullying" Sheldon. For the first few days he didn't even pay attention to him.

By the way, I changed my username not realizing the implication of it. All my posts changed to my new username. Kinda confusing since it's the same name as my betta. Ugh, may have to consider changing it again!
  • #28
Yes, Rid-Fungus and TriSulfa together attack both causes of fin rot. Rid-Fungus is an effective anti-fungal product that's a non-harsh organic herbal liquid so it's easily combined with an anti-biotic.

Those real tiny bits of carbon shouldn't do too much. As long as you've gotten out all that you can, it should be good.

Harold's in mostly good shape and sounds like he's got plenty of attitude going so he's a strong Betta and can recover well and clear that stuff out.
  • #29
Yes the meds work well together and have for Dave on several occasions. Others have also used this combo with good results.

LOL ... you are not the first nor probably will you be the last with the same user name as your betta. It is fine. You don't have to change it unless you want to. We know the difference.

Take care and please keep us informed of your and his progress. We really do care what is going on.

  • #30
HI all

My favorite betta boy 'Bett', had a mishap the other day and got the tip of his very long VT caught in the filter intake (which is small, don't know how he managed), leaving a small rip. I did not worry as he's had a rip before (larger than this) and it healed well with clean water and TLC.

However, today I woke up and saw the rip is covered in white fungus This is horrible as he's my and my 3yr olds favorite fish and we've had him for over 2 yrs now.

I added some wardleys fungus ade today which contains malachite green, acriflavine and formadehyde and an crossing my fingers - but my question is if any of you have had good experience with this med.

I know maracycn I or II is often recommended, but I cannot get it here in Oz. I am also wondering if some salt may help, as this seems to be the main ingredient in Jungle's fungus meds (saw ingredient list on line).

Picking up a hospital tank today (gave my old 5gal away to a friend, silly me) so I can treat him alone.

Any recommendations an anything else I should do? I'll cry if I lose him to this, he's always been so healthy. :'(

  • #31
Awww, that stinks.

Fungus Eliminator is by Jungle isn't it?
I've had good luck with that for mouth fungus.

Good luck!
  • #32
HI Lucy, thanks - but I can't get Jungle here (hence me asking if I should add a bit of salt, as that seems to be the key ingredient)

Many thanks again for input!!
  • #33
This sticky might help:
  • #34
Hehe, that's where I got my info from Thanks for the advice though!

The fungus-ed tip fell off last night, I did a 50% wc and re-dosed the meds to compensate, and there in no fungal regrowth this morning arty0049:.

I'm crossing all appendages that that will be the end of the fungus and his fin will just regrow normally.

thanks again
  • #35
lol, It's a good list.
You know the routine, clean water, vita-chem, garlic guard and extra stress coat.
Keep us informed.
  • #36
Yes, shall do -- but can't get vitachem or stresscoat or garlic guard here. Annoying. A bit of fluff has come back so I'll do a wc and redose meds tommorrow (can on only dose every 4 days) and cross my fingers.

If it fails, might try pimafix at low dose and/or a salt bath.

Thanks again
  • #37
You can use a couple of drops of garlic juice from a jar of minced garlic (no additives)
  • #38
Good morning,

Sorry to hear that your Betta is ill.

First I would cover the intake tube so that this doesn't happen again. I use an Aqua Clear sponge, slice an X on top and slide it over the intake tube. This will prevent his fins from being sucked up.
Treat the sponge as you do filter media and only rinse it in siphoned tank water. This will preserve the beneficial bacteria on the sponge.

Here are a couple of link you may find helpful:

Best wishes for a full recovery! Please keep us posted.

  • #39
Yes, covered the filter just in case with nylons (it's a powerhead). He's had this filter for a year and its the first time he's had such a rip - but maybe it was a snag on something else, such as inbetween his riverstones while searching for leftovers (i'm just blaming the filter as that is where he hangs out sometimes). Everything else is very smooth and as it was a straight and even horizontal tear which appeared overnight, i'm confident it wasn't his tiny mouthed, docile tankmates.

Ahh, nice pro tip on the garlic- thanks! I also did find some stresscoat today, so i've added that too. I found some multicure containing methylene blue - the fungus remedy of choic for the marcus song betta book as well as malachite green and acriflavine, so i'm setting up his hospital tank with seeded media and Stability for him tomorrow for treatment (as I don't want to kill all the snails in his 15g)

Great help both - thanks again
  • #40
Yes, covered the filter just in case with nylons (it's a powerhead). He's had this filter for a year and its the first time he's had such a rip - but maybe it was a snag on something else, such as inbetween his riverstones while searching for leftovers (i'm just blaming the filter as that is where he hangs out sometimes). Everything else is very smooth and as it was a straight and even horizontal tear which appeared overnight, i'm confident it wasn't his tiny mouthed, docile tankmates.

Ahh, nice pro tip on the garlic- thanks! I also did find some stresscoat today, so i've added that too. I found some multicure containing methylene blue - the fungus remedy of choic for the marcus song betta book as well as malachite green and acriflavine, so i'm setting up his hospital tank with seeded media and Stability for him tomorrow for treatment (as I don't want to kill all the snails in his 15g)

Great help both - thanks again

The multI cure can leave some stains so you'd definitely want to use it in a separate tank. good luck with your betta!

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