Betta Won't Gain Weight, Has Constant Stress Stripes

Fishproblem

Member
Hey fishlore! I'm at my wit's end.
I brought a betta fish home from my parents' house recently, as its health was all over the place and mom couldn't keep up. Thanks to my sister's neglect, it had developed serious fin rot. I treated it with kanaplex and fungus clear very effectively, and moved it from the 7 gallon tank it had been inhabiting to a 2.5. It's a very small orchid betta (literally half the size of an average male betta fish) and the bigger tank was too much space - he was struggling to move around and mostly listless.

For a time, the smaller tank, lower flow, etc seemed to help. But then he was developing bloat after eating and looking poorly again, so I brought him home. Like a fool, I put some ghost shrimp in his tank (he used to hunt them down happily) and it bit me in the behind. In his weaker state, they ate most of his tail away, leaving him with more plakat finnage than orchid. (they were promptly removed from the tank and fed to my rams).

Prior to the ghost shrimp debacle, and after, he was lethargic, tipping to the side at rest. He has shown stress stripes for two months straight now, with dull coloration. He may have gained some weight, but the base of his tail is still paper thin, and there's a marked dip form his skull to body.

Water parameters are consistent at 0, 0, 5, and I do a water change every 3 days. As mentioned, its at 79/80F. He's curious when I'm near the tank, and eats enthusiastically, but the emaciation and stripes persist.

What could be wrong? Is there a better food I can offer him? Frozen is easiest for him to catch as it floats in the water column.
 

AggressiveAquatics

Member
Do you have a picture?
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Darwinthebloodparrot said:
Do you have a picture?
Just took these. They definitely show the skinnyness, but the stripes are hard to capture in the light I have rn. I’ll post an older pic that shows them (they’re unchanged) in a moment.
C2B6222C-5B82-48EF-839A-1DD135D8075F.jpeg

BF766ACC-B5CF-4945-9473-B419959ACF55.jpeg
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Ah. The other pics I have don’t show the stripes well either. Trust that they’re your standard stress stripes. His coloration dulls at about the lateral line to grey, and he has two darker lateral stripes down his body.
 

Cinnabar

Member
How much do you feed him and how are his poops? Do you know how old he is? If he’s taking in a large amount of food but is still skinny, that’s a worrying sign.
 
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Fishproblem

Member
WhatsUpGuys said:
How much do you feed him and how are his poops? Do you know how old he is? If he’s taking in a large amount of food but is still skinny, that’s a worrying sign.
I feed him between four and seven large brine shrimp in one go, usually twice a day but sometimes up to four. He’s about two and a half. It is definitely concerning, which is why I’m here lol

I haven’t seen him poop, but I’ve never seen any of my bettas poop so... I can say that I haven’t seen any lingering sick looking poop or parasites hanging from him.

does this sound like it could be parasites?
 

Cinnabar

Member
Fishproblem said:
I feed him between four and seven large brine shrimp in one go, usually twice a day but sometimes up to four. He’s about two and a half. It is definitely concerning, which is why I’m here lol

I haven’t seen him poop, but I’ve never seen any of my bettas poop so... I can say that I haven’t seen any lingering sick looking poop or parasites hanging from him.

does this sound like it could be parasites?
Are you exclusively feeding him brine shrimp? Adult brine shrimp are a good treat but not very nutritious- they’re mostly exoskeleton.

From what you’re describing, it sounds exactly like internal parasites... lethargy, stress, losing mass despite eating well, etc. Pale stringy feces, combined with the other symptoms, is a sure sign of parasites. If he’s not pooping, all that foods gotta be going somewhere.
 

AggressiveAquatics

Member
Brine shrimp shouldn’t be a staple food pellets should be a staple and like maybe 2 twice. A week some brine shrimp and throw some vegetables in there and maybe soak the brine shrimp in garlic so it will also help immune system. He definitely isn’t getting enough nutrients from the brine shrimp
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Darwinthebloodparrot said:
Brine shrimp shouldn’t be a staple food pellets should be a staple and like maybe 2 twice. A week some brine shrimp and throw some vegetables in there and maybe soak the brine shrimp in garlic so it will also help immune system. He definitely isn’t getting enough nutrients from the brine shrimp
Betta fish don’t eat vegetables. He also eats fluval bug bites a couple of times a week, but has trouble tracking them down. He was also wasting while eating omega betta pellets.
 

AggressiveAquatics

Member
Fishproblem said:
Betta fish don’t eat vegetables. He also eats fluval bug bites a couple of times a week, but has trouble tracking them down. He was also wasting while eating omega betta pellets.
By vegetables I means every once and a while they can eat deshelled peas because their good for fiber
 
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Fishproblem

Member
Darwinthebloodparrot said:
By vegetables I means every once and a while they can eat deshelled peas because their good for fiber
Right. I guess that can't hurt if they're constipated from not having fiber elsewhere in their diet.

WhatsUpGuys i am concerned that it could be internal parasites, which i guess would be better than not knowing what the problem is. again, I haven't seen him poop but I can't really take that as a symptom, as i've never seen any of my bettas poop, or my other fish really (except, of course, the plecostomus). it would definitely be helpful to see hard evidence by way of white stringy poo/

can you advise on any antiparasitics? i've never had to treat for them before. I hear prazipro is commonly used.
 

Cinnabar

Member
Fishproblem said:
Right. I guess that can't hurt if they're constipated from not having fiber elsewhere in their diet.

WhatsUpGuys i am concerned that it could be internal parasites, which i guess would be better than not knowing what the problem is. again, I haven't seen him poop but I can't really take that as a symptom, as i've never seen any of my bettas poop, or my other fish really (except, of course, the plecostomus). it would definitely be helpful to see hard evidence by way of white stringy poo/

can you advise on any antiparasitics? i've never had to treat for them before. I hear prazipro is commonly used.
When you don’t have a diagnosis, you have to make a decision on whether to medicate or not. Medications are extremely stressful for fishes and sometimes it might not be enough to help them pull through. If you do choose to medicate, there are several go-to meds for fish. They can be dissolved into the tank water or added to food.

Praziquantel is a good broad spectrum antiparasitic and is readily available. It’s very safe and can be found in API General Cure or PraziPro. Note that general cure also contains metronidazole, an antibacterial, while prazipro is just praziquantel. GC is a powder and PraziPro is a liquid. You can pick whichever suits your needs better.

I think it would be better if you soaked his food in medicine to kill internal parasites but I’ll let someone with more experience advise you on that. But also there YouTube so... you could probably find an instructional video.
 

Bettamay

Member
If you have IAL leaves, those might help, at least with the tail. Do you see him hiding often? Is there a specific spot that is mostly free from light, but can’t really be seen?
 
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Fishproblem

Member
WhatsUpGuys said:
When you don’t have a diagnosis, you have to make a decision on whether to medicate or not. Medications are extremely stressful for fishes and sometimes it might not be enough to help them pull through. If you do choose to medicate, there are several go-to meds for fish. They can be dissolved into the tank water or added to food.

Praziquantel is a good broad spectrum antiparasitic and is readily available. It’s very safe and can be found in API General Cure or PraziPro. Note that general cure also contains metronidazole, an antibacterial, while prazipro is just praziquantel. GC is a powder and PraziPro is a liquid. You can pick whichever suits your needs better.

I think it would be better if you soaked his food in medicine to kill internal parasites but I’ll let someone with more experience advise you on that. But also there YouTube so... you could probably find an instructional video.
Sure, I’m a huge proponent of not medicating unless it’s absolutely necessary, but he’s been stressed and unwell for months and I’m sure that’s taking a far more significant toll on him than a round of antiparasitic will.

I’m pretty comfortable medicating for parasites without an official diagnosis at this point, as he’s been through a broad spectrum antibiotic/antifungal treatment and while it cured his (horrendous) fin rot, the wasting persists. If it had been a bacterial or fungal problem it would have cleared that up as well. I’ll soak brine shrimp in Prazipro and see how it goes. In the interest of not over medicating I’m not going to use general cure.

Bettamay there’s a handful of IAL in the tank for tannins and to create multiple hiding places while the plants grow in. They’re large leaves and created a number of caves to hide in and around. He spends time hiding, but not exclusively and uses all his space, well lit or dim.
 

jkkgron2

Member
Darwinthebloodparrot said:
By vegetables I means every once and a while they can eat deshelled peas because their good for fiber
Actually peas aren’t great for them.

Fishproblem said:
Sure, I’m a huge proponent of not medicating unless it’s absolutely necessary, but he’s been stressed and unwell for months and I’m sure that’s taking a far more significant toll on him than a round of antiparasitic will.

I’m pretty comfortable medicating for parasites without an official diagnosis at this point, as he’s been through a broad spectrum antibiotic/antifungal treatment and while it cured his (horrendous) fin rot, the wasting persists. If it had been a bacterial or fungal problem it would have cleared that up as well. I’ll soak brine shrimp in Prazipro and see how it goes. In the interest of not over medicating I’m not going to use general cure.

Bettamay there’s a handful of IAL in the tank for tannins and to create multiple hiding places while the plants grow in. They’re large leaves and created a number of caves to hide in and around. He spends time hiding, but not exclusively and uses all his space, well lit or dim.
If you treat his food for parasites I think the issue will resolve. I like to feed my bettas a mix of bloodworms, bug bites, and omega one betta pellets. Those three combined should help your betta too :). You’ll want to feed the bug bites and pellets more often than the bloodworms but feeding them 2-3 times a week will help give him a varied diet!
 

AquaticQueen

Member
jkkgron2 said:
Actually peas aren’t great for them.


If you treat his food for parasites I think the issue will resolve. I like to feed my bettas a mix of bloodworms, bug bites, and omega one betta pellets. Those three combined should help your betta too :). You’ll want to feed the bug bites and pellets more often than the bloodworms but feeding them 2-3 times a week will help give him a varied diet!
Agreed.
 
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