Is My Betta Sick?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Fish Disease' started by SomethingByBrian, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. SomethingByBrianNew MemberMember

    Hi guys, this is my first Betta and I've had him for almost 3 months - during the last couple of weeks however his gills and 'beard' seems to be blackening? I've read that if gills get red flares it can be a sign of ammonia poisoning - what about black flares? I've also read somewhere that I might even be some fungal infection?
    Please help me figure out what's wrong with the little guy - my NO3, GH and KH values are a bit to high so my money is on Ammonia poisoning - how do I fix/treat this?

    Attached Files:

  2. wem21Well Known MemberMember

    If its an ammonia problem, try doing frequent partial water changes, like maybe 25% of the tank every second day. You could be overfeeding possibly, try feeding it max 3-4 pellets a day. Im not that much if an expert, but in my experience water changes WILL always help. @CindiL is an expert in these things. Forgot, what are your parameters? Filter? Heater?
  3. SomethingByBrianNew MemberMember

    I do 15% water changes weekly and maybe I'm feeding a bit much - usually vacuum up some leftovers. It's a 5 gallon planted tank with a heater and a filter. It's the Fluval Chi II if you know that one? So the filter isn't changeable but it appears to get the job done - I clean that monthly.
    I'm considering planting another plant since I've read that can help on the ammonia values as well?
  4. wem21Well Known MemberMember

    Youre doing a pretty good job, maybe up the water changes to 25% weekly. I forgot to say that black gills are usually a sign that the betta has been living in poor water conditions, so do more frequent water changes. What are your tanks parameters (nitrites, ammonia, ect.) Is yur fish eating/swimming well?
  5. SomethingByBrianNew MemberMember

    I don't have the specific numbers since the only testing tool I have are some test strips - but they show me that the nitrate is too high, the nitrites are okay (but on the high end) and that GH and KH values are high too. So it may just be poor water? and not ammonia burns/poisoning?
    His activity level and appetite doesn't seem affected? yet he sometimes just chills on the buttom - but that's usually right after food so I figured he's just digesting.
  6. wem21Well Known MemberMember

    Test strips arent really accurate, liquid test kits are way way better. I suggest the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Your water quality isnt great, probbly the caspyse of black gills. Do a water change now if possible (25%) and do one the day after tommorrow, keep on going until he looks better. Bettas like rest, chilling on the bottom isnt uncommon. Ammonia burn is a possibility seeing your water quality.
  7. pRoy33Valued MemberMember

    If you have nitrates and nitrites then I believe your tank is not cycled. How long has it been up and running?
  8. SomethingByBrianNew MemberMember

    @wem21 I'll get a kit as fast as possible - isn't it possible to do to many water changes? I did one the day before yesterday and has one scheduled for tomorrow - I'll make that one a 25% though.

    @pRoy33 It has been up and running for almost 4 months and I introduced plants immediately after setting it up and didn't put a fish in the first 14 days?
  9. KimberlyGFishlore VIPMember

    I'm guessing that your betta simply has a black beard just like mine. The first time I saw it, I freaked. When he flared at just the right angle, I could see past the beard and his gills were just fine.
  10. saketValued MemberMember

    no need to worry bettas have black gills mine to has them.
  11. SomethingByBrianNew MemberMember

    @KimberlyG & @sakat well if that's the case I have nothing to worry about as soon as I get my values straight :)
  12. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, welcome to the forum :)

    I'd get your testing kit today if possible. Any ammonia OR nitrites are deadly to your fish. The high nitrites will bind with the blood causing whats known as brown blood disease and prevent him from getting enough oxygen.

    I would do a couple of 50% water changes over the next 24 hours. What is your dechlorinator? In general you should be doing at least a 50% water change weekly once your tank is cycled. You can go by the nitrate readings and aim, ideally to keep them at 10 or under once cycled.

    Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

    Do you have Seachem Prime? I would dose with that as well every 24 hours to keep ammonia + nitrites in a detoxified state up to 1.0.

    I think some people add in a bag of bio-max to the output of their chi filter to have a place for the bacteria to grow as the filter doesn't provide enough on its own.
    Once you've done your water changes and have verified that ammonia and nitrites are back to 0, you can help the cycle finish up by adding in a bottle of Tetra Safe Start Plus TSS+. It is a bottle of the right nitrifying bacteria to seed your tank.
  13. SomethingByBrianNew MemberMember

    Hi @CindiL and thanks :)
    I've already ordered my kit but it wont arrive in a day or two :/ I've used 'Fluval Water Conditioner' to remove chlorines and chloramines - itsn't multiple 50% water changes over such a short period of time harmful for the bacteria balance??
    I don't have Seachem Prime but I usually add 'Fluval Biological Enhancer' to help eliminate ammonia and nitrite.
  14. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    The bacteria don't live in the water column, they live in the filter and on surfaces of your tank like the substrate, so no the more fresh water the better. Would you test your tap and tank with the strips you have, though not ideal, and let me know the ph, nitrite, nitrate, gh and kh numbers it shows? Do you have anything to test ammonia?

    If you've had him for four months and still are not cycled that tells me that you don't have enough places for the bacteria to live which is why I'd recommend adding in a small bag of bio-max.
  15. MatthiasfanuValued MemberMember

    A very small portion (if any at all) of the bacteria live in the water. The majority of it is going to be found in your filter media. I'm curious though, you said you clean your filter monthly. Do you clean it in used tank water or tap water? When cleaning filter media you should always rinse it in tank water and not tap water as tap water contains chlorine which can eliminate the beneficial bacteria in your filter.
  16. SomethingByBrianNew MemberMember

    tap water values:
    KH: between 15- 20d
    GH: around 14d
    pH: around 7.5-8
    and nitrate and nitrite both show up as 0 - maybe a bit of coloring on the NO3 though, but not much.

    tank values:
    GH: >21d
    pH: 7,5
    N02: 0
    N03: 10

    okay - I'll add some bio-max to my order then

    @Matthiasfanu I clean it in the used tank water yea :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 11, 2017
  17. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Ok, just making sure you didn't have a big change in ph between tap and tank. You must have done the water change since your NO2 is now 0? And your NO3 is lower also.
  18. SomethingByBrianNew MemberMember

    yes, but my KH and GH values are still pretty high? doesn't water change affect those and if not - how to lower them?
  19. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    As long as tap and tank are close to each other which yours are that is the most important thing. You don't want to lower them. Your KH being high just shows you have very stable water with lots of carbonates and bi-carbonates. The good news about that is you'll never have a ph swing or a ph crash.
    Your GH at 15-20 degrees is high and hard water fish would thrive in it (like livebearers for example). At 15d your GH is 268.5ppm which is not worth lowering for the majority of fish.

    If you were trying to breed soft water fish, that would be a different issue and you could use half RO or distilled water to reduce those numbers. With the majority of captive bred fish, they will adjust and be healthy in your water. Also, in general, soft water fish can live in hard water, but hard water fish don't live long in water that is too soft.