Need Help Diagnosing & Treating Betta


hey fishlore, I need some assistance with my lil betta buddy, my darling sunshine, my ickle wickle baby. (please keep reading......)

(now that i'm looking at the photos I took more closely, it does look like ich. but I still want some expert opinions. ty.)


What is the water volume of the tank? 10 gallons
How long has the tank been running? over a year (7/3/18)
Does it have a filter? yes, a tetra silentstream 10 hob (rated for 10g)
Does it have a heater? yes, adjustable and working
What is the water temperature? currently 84–85°F, normally 78–80°F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? one male double tail plakat betta (had him since july of last year, he was not fully grown yet), one small horned nerite snail, a few malaysian trumpet snails and new baby mts (god knows how many, only seen a few so far)

How often do you change the water?
typically twice a week, sometimes once a week if I get lazy
How much of the water do you change? 25–50% each water change, it depends. lately i've been taking out more water because i've been slacking
What do you use to treat your water? seachem prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? gravel vacuum

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
did a fish-in cycle using tetra safe start plus, tank is fully cycled
What do you use to test the water? apI freshwater master liquid test kit
What are your parameters?

Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 10–20ppm
pH: 8.0

Tap water readings from today:

Ammonia: .50ppm
Nitrite: .25ppm
Nitrate: 0–5ppm
pH: 7.5

(our tap water's parameters change... all the time..... our city dumps a lot of chloramine in our water during the summer, so i've been adding extra prime during water changes)

How often do you feed your fish?
once a day. he gets a fasting day if I fall asleep first though (this is rare)
How much do you feed your fish? not too much don't worry
What brand of food do you feed your fish? I rotate between pellets and frozen food every other day. for pellets: switch between fluval bug bites and these high quality homemade betta pellets. for frozen, I feed hikarI spirulina brine shrimp, piscine energetics mysis shrimp, and occasionally hikarI daphnia and tubifex worms. they're more difficult to feed. I also soak the frozen shrimp in freshly chopped garlic to boost his immune system and make things more tasty
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? never freeze-dried, only frozen and pellets

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish?
a little over a year (7/9/18)
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? last tuesday, 7/23. it literally happened overnight. I did notice his fins were a bit rough around the edges a few days before that though, so I added some more indian almond leaves to his tank (old ones were disintegrating), assuming he shred them on something (which he's never done before...). I first noticed white spots on his body, pinholes in his fins, more jagged edges, and mottled brown/pale scales a few days later when I woke up.
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? white spots on his body, pinholes in his fins (I THINK they're pinholes?? might just be spots/cysts), jagged edges to his fins (mostly analfin), brown/pale mottled scales (his scales are usually blue with brown/grey undertones), greyish jaw/underbelly, slightly cloudy eyes. half the time he hangs out at the top of the tank, on top of the digital thermometer I added when I started the heat treatment, in weird positions looking like he's dead (he's not). the other half he hides behind his driftwood, on the ground. neither is typical behavior. he can still swim though. he thrashes/wriggles a bit when he's on top of the thermometer. he still has a voracious appetite.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? yes. upon first glance I determined it was ich; now i'm not so sure. I did a 50% water change later that day on tuesday, put his heater back in his tank (I don't use it during the summer because our house is hot) and bumped the temp up to 85° for a heat treatment. my endler tank had just started showing symptoms of internal parasites a few days before and I bought seachem metroplex to treat them. I realized metroplex can also be used to cure ich, so I started dosing his tank the following day, I think. (metro is one scoop per 10 gallon every other day until symptoms disappear.) I also bought kordon rapid-cure for external protozoan parasites & ich because someone on instagram recommended it (it was actually kordon rid-ich plus, but this was cheap and readily available at walmart). it's basically malachite green. I did a half dose for 3 days as per instructions (only a half dose because apparently you shouldn't use it with snails and plants, plus i'm using metro). so far I have noticed no improvement. I am doing 50% water changes every other day, vacuuming up debris.
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no

Explain your emergency situation in detail.
idk where this came from but I have an idea. I got lazy with my water changes. but it wasn't even... bad. I used to change his water out twice a week. then mts kicked in and now I have 5 tanks. so lately it's been more like once a week, but sometimes twice. last week I went a whopping week + one or two days without changing the water. I thought, no big deal, people do this all the time, i'm still good on my water changes. a heavily planted, cycled 10 gallon tank with an extremely low bioload should be fiiiiiine. so I changed about 40% of his water on saturday, 7/20. three days later I woke up and he looked like poopie. maybe it was because I waited too long to do a water change, or maybe it was something from that water change on saturday. I did not introduce any new plants or livestock to the tank. however, I did use the same equipment on my infected endler tank... but the symptoms are completely different.

so like... i'm just not so sure if it's ich anymore??? this is my first time personally dealing with fish disease (gasp) and I need a second (third, fourth, etc) opinion diagnosing him. he just acts and looks so pathetic. it makes me sad and probably unnecessarily worried. in fact I am so worried that I am writing this at 4 in the morning. I know ich is pretty much the most common fish illness, rarely kills fish, and is pretty easy to treat. I just want to know if this really is ich or if there's something else going on and I need to be doing something differently. and when I should expect to see improvement. should I keep using metroplex or change to a different medicine? what will be the most effective form of treatment?

here are some photos of my icky boy from a few hours ago. click on the thumbnails for closeups. I don't want this idiot to die, he was my first fish since college and my first real attempt at aquariums. i've already had to kill one of my hardcore dying endlers with a mallet today. I don't want sidon to be next. thank you!



I suspect he's getting sick from the constant water parameter changes. The varying pH can't be good, then there's now ammonia and nitrites. Normally I'd say the water change slack probably wasn't the issue, but in this case, with the unstable water parameters, it could've been a factor. I've never dealt with ich myself, so maybe someone with experience with it will add in, but it looks like ich from the photos. Ich-X is what I hear suggested a lot. I'd try Paraguard in case it's an external bacteria or parasite issue, personally, but I do have that on hand, so that's a factor for me personally.

Have you tested your tap water?
I suggest moving him to a QT tank or tub or container so you can dose fully.


possibly. I test the water after water changes though and it's pretty neutral.

he looks and acts worse today; lots of white fuzzy flakes coming off of his scales and fins. I don't think it's ich anymore, maybe a bacterial or fungal infection. very visible cataracts over his pupils. I had to take the lid off the tank to rouse him, he was hiding behind the driftwood again.

i'll definitely put him in quarantine, I just need to get another tank. my current qt is being used by a sick endler. gonna make an emergency run to find something suitable, maybe pick up some spring water too. I wish I could just find a plain old 5 gallon tank but I haven't been able to find one anywhere.

does anyone else have any input??


photos from today



lots of white fuzzy flakes coming off of his scales and fins. I don't think it's ich anymore, maybe a bacterial or fungal infection
Yes, sounds like it. I'd try Paraguard, which can treat bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic issues, according to Seachem. Maybe pick up Kanaplex too just in case. Are there any other fish that were with the betta? I'm not sure if I want to suggest leaving the betta in there and treating the whole tank with Paraguard just to make sure everything is treated and there's nothing that can cause a problem if he heals on QT and gets put back in. I've safely used it with snails and plants and a normal filter. You can also do hour dips in it.


Ick or Ich comes when fish are stressed not necessarily due to pathogens or bacteria

Seems to me like whitespot fungus this is easy to treat
Trust me I did as below and it worked
Can you get normal pure table salt that is not having iodine or any other additives.
Take 1/4 of the salt which you have in your closed fist and add it to the tank.
Change 25% water on the 4th day if needed and most probably by the 2 or 3 change it should disappear.


Take 1/4 of the salt which you have in your closed fist and add it to the tank
What exactly does this mean? I'm leery about non-specific, unmeasured dosage suggestions.


What exactly does this mean? I'm leery about non-specific, unmeasured dosage suggestions.
Ok take 4 pinches of salt about 10 to 15 grams and add. This has no danger involved. It is one way of making water inhospitable to any pathogens.


I have kanaplex but not paraguard. I was thinking about kana but in my experience it kills everything it touches lol.

it's just him and a few snails. I have a huge bowl I can put him in for qt.

i'm also asking my city's fishkeeping facebook group and they think it may be bacterial and recommend furan 2 or kanaplex.


I have kanaplex but not paraguard. I was thinking about kana but in my experience it kills everything it touches lol.

it's just him and a few snails. I have a huge bowl I can put him in for qt.

i'm also asking my city's fishkeeping facebook group and they think it may be bacterial and recommend furan 2 or kanaplex.
Kanaplex treats bacterial and fungal, according to Seachem. So that probably will work fine, I only suggested Paraguard because it treats a wide variety. If you're not sure about using Kanaplex in the main tank, put him in QT then for peace of mind.


Unrelated to diagnosis but check FB marketplace or Craigslist for a QT tank - that's where I got mine.

The nonspecific post above about salt might not actually be too far off base. I have had pretty good luck with aquarium salt plus meds (and it's supposed to help with ich). I have been reading so much lately and I can't find the reference, but I even read that salt water makes kanamycin more effective. I use a teaspoon per gallon following the instructions on the box. I have a planted tank (anubias and Java ferns) and haven't had an issue.

It does really look like ich -- could it maybe also be columnaris? He doesn't have any mouth lesions but otherwise it does look white and patchy. In that case the kanaplex would be a good move


welp, sidon died sometime earlier tonight. I checked on him before I headed to bed and he was dead. :/

I put him in quarantine and was dosing aquarium salt and kanaplex. he flip-flopped a lot; most of the time he acted poorly, like lying on his side and not moving, but there were a couple days where he was sitting upright and swimming around. he only refused food once and ate the rest of the time. he kept looking worse though; he developed lesions (I think), spots that looked like his scales were flaking off or some kind of spores, and some patches. patches would grow fungus-like tendrils that kept growing longer. greyish white spots/lesions started appearing around his gills and head. when he died he was tilted upwards with his gills flared wide and part of his beard showing.

I started to think it might be columnaris so I looked up some treatment methods. someone recommended dosing both furan-2 and kanaplex, so I bought furan-2. it arrived today and I did as they said but worried it might just be a fungal infection. i'm pretty sure all the meds I dosed today is what did him in. he was too weak and couldn't handle it. swim in peace my little buddy.

i'm going to give his tank at least a month to detox whatever it is he had. there are only malaysian trumpet snails and a nerite in there. not sure what I should dose, if anything, because i'm still not sure what it is. if y'all have any input based on the below photos about the progress of this disease, please let me know!



Oh, wow. Poor fella

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