Emergency! Betta wasting away

  • #1
What is the water volume of the tank? 130
How long has the tank been running? 2 years
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 76
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
It's a rack system, don't have time to list everything

How often do you change the water? Monthly
How much of the water do you change? 10 percent
Seems low, but everyone else is always heathy
What do you use to treat your water? Well water
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Vacuum

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? Yes
What do you use to test the water? Api master
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrate: 10 (always been this way)
pH: 7.8 always been this way

How often do you feed your fish? Three times a week
How much do you feed your fish? Enough, what the fish wants when I feed
Do you feed frozen? Frozen brine shrimp, live foods

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? 3 mo
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? 2 days ago
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms?
Very skinny, not eating, sits at the bottom
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Api lifeguard, katappa leaves, salt
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Yes. Not hungry, sitting at the bottom

I had another fish pass away last week of the same symptoms, but I thought it was a fluke. All of the other females look great.

I love this fis, paid a lot for her, and need her for breeding. I'll pretty much do anything
This is her


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Rose of Sharon
  • #2

Have you removed her from the main tank? If not, I would recommend that you do so. Set her up with a hospital tank with a heater and air stone. You can use a clean plastic tote, and keep the water level low so she doesn't have far to go to get air.
Dose her with the aquarium salt and katappa leaves in the hospital tank. She has some fin issues. I don't know how good Tetra Life Guard is. It's basically a disinfectant, as far as I can tell.

Are you seeing any other symptoms other than loss of appetite and laying at the bottom? Breathing issues? Unusual or new spots on her body?

This could be a number of things, sadly. You can try giving her a methylene blue dip or bath. That can help with fin issues and body issues. If you want to use an antibiotic in the hospital tank, it's difficult to know what to suggest without knowing what the cause is, so I would go with something broad spectrum, like Maracyn 2, which treats internal issues (bacterial and some fungal) and can be absorbed through the skin. I think Kanaplex treats internal issues, too, but my first pick is usually Maracyn 2.

Try soaking her food in garlic juice to see if you can entice her to eat. (garlic juice - just cut up a little garlic, soak it in water for a little bit, then use that water to soak some of her food in).

Most importantly ...watch your other fish very carefully. You might need to do a good cleaning and water change to make sure the water is pristine. If another comes down with something, then you have something going around in your main tank, or either some of your food is bad. It could be anything from a quick acting strain of columnaris, to some form of mycobacterium from infected food or fish feces, to an iridovirus. Healthy fish can shrug off some of these, but stressed fish will be vulnerable.

If she does not eat, does not move, and/or starts having breathing issues, then unfortunately, it may be time to euthanize.

Here's a link to a thread about bettas and iridovirus:


Hope this helps!

  • #3
Not eating and being skinny makes me think parasites , how is your fish today ?
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Not eating and being skinny makes me think parasites , how is your fish today ?
I believe it was a bacterial infection caused by being picked on by another female. She died
Rose of Sharon
  • #5
Oh, so sorry for your loss!!!! She was a very cute little girl!!! :(
  • #6
That is very unfortunate, though the picking makes sense. The stress from it may have even been a cause. Just try and keep an eye on the others, because if she had something bacterial or infective, make sure the others aren't catching it. I believe sorority members will pick on/ beat a sick or weak fish (pecking order).
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Yeah, I've decided to keep a large group of females together with more plants, so any aggressive females can't target a specific other female. I went and bought eight more bettas the next day. o_O :D

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