Please help - betta lethargic and pineconing

butterflybetta
  • #1
I recently found out my betta is fin biting. All this time, I didn't think that he was because I never saw him do it. Turns out, you usually don't see your betta biting. It does make sense now. It seems like he started fin biting when I moved his tank to a different shelf, in March. That's when I noticed his fins "tearing".
His fins were doing slightly better with frequent water changes, until recently. His fins seemed to be torn, but not from fin biting, he's very lethargic, and today I noticed very slight pineconing and he's definitely bloated. I just did a 50% water change, added stressguard, and moved his tank to were it originally was before I moved it. I never thought I would have to deal with this. (I will post a picture soon)

What should I do? Epson salt baths? What brand of Epson salt should I use? Should I use Kanaplex? How should I quarantine him? In tupperware? I don't think I have the equipment to set up an actual quarantine tank.
. . . I feel like if I forgot everything I thought I knew about bettas.

I recently added aquarium salt (for his fins), which might of made things worse? I'm also suspecting that the temperature of his tank drops during the night time. My heater seems to be working well, but it gets REALLY cold in my house at night. I guess stress is the main cause of this happening?
I would really appreciate any help. I really don't want to lose him and I'm not sure what I should do.

I checked all parameters and their stable and normal. I'll answer any other questions anyone has about him. Please help.
 

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Ghelfaire
  • #2
Is he in a tank with other fish? If not then a quarantine tank isn't necessary.
Sounds like dropsy to me. Dropsy has a number of causes making treatment hard. If you think the temperature drops at night get a new heater, stress is one of the causes.
Salt in the water may help, alternatively you can try salt baths instead. I would use aquarium salt.
 

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BigManAquatics
  • #3
Epsom salt i don't think there is a particular brand, but it does need to be unscented. That yes, you would want to use tupperware or something for because i think like 15 mins or so per epsom salt baths. Do not know the ratios.

Sorry you gotta deal with this :/
 
aquafrogg
  • #4
AvalancheDave PNWBettas just tagging a few people who I know can answer your questions. So sorry about your little guy
 
NoahLikesFish
  • #5
It’s probably dropsy, if you can, I would euthanize the fish. It’s incurable and it will die in a few days- a couple months the pine coning happens in the last stages of the disease when your fish is about to die
 
Ghelfaire
  • #6
It’s probably dropsy, if you can, I would euthanize the fish. It’s incurable and it will die in a few days- a couple months the pine coning happens in the last stages of the disease when your fish is about to die
It's still worth trying to save
 

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aquafrogg
  • #7
It’s probably dropsy, if you can, I would euthanize the fish. It’s incurable and it will die in a few days- a couple months the pine coning happens in the last stages of the disease when your fish is about to die
I completely disagree and asking someone to euthanize their fish when there is still hope is a bit insensitive. Literally one of the people I tagged treated her fish’s dropsy after he pineconed. And the other helped her do it. It’s definitely not incurable.

hopefully they’ll respond soon. If not I’ll quote some of the things they did/said in other threads since this is a bit of a time sensitive issue.
 
AggressiveAquatics
  • #8
It’s probably dropsy, if you can, I would euthanize the fish. It’s incurable and it will die in a few days- a couple months the pine coning happens in the last stages of the disease when your fish is about to die
It’s very difficult to cure but definitely not incurable. You may still have a chance to help him. Is he still eating? If he is then it’s not to bad yet
 
Bettamay
  • #9
I will make a list.

1. This is Dropsy, like everybody else said.

2. Epsom salt baths are an option to help treat a betta.

3. I also know that Meth Blue can help. Unfortunately, you need a quarantine tank for this. Meth Blue can ruin your filter and harm live plants life, as well as leave a stain. You would add the Meth in a (non metal) container, and only dip for maximum 10 seconds. Remember acclimation before dipping, because it can shock your betta.

4. You can also treat with amoxicillin. For this you would need to set up a full on quarantine tank. You first add aquarium salts, then release your betta in. Then after that, you just use a strong antibiotic(amoxicillin) to try and cure him. Remember the water changes every day.

5. In the meanwhile, you need to set aside a good part of your day and dedicate it to deep cleaning your fish tank.


***I’m assuming there are no other fish in the tank.

Clean your filter( in the tank) and then do a 75 percent water change, scrub everything with hot water (rip hands) and clean live plants (if you have them) with warm water.

6. Always follow the bottle instructions when antibioticing.

Wow it took 30 minutes to type this.


Also aquafrogg, your post didn’t tag them for so,e reason.

AvalancheDave PNWBettas
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Is he in a tank with other fish? If not then a quarantine tank isn't necessary.
Sounds like dropsy to me. Dropsy has a number of causes making treatment hard. If you think the temperature drops at night get a new heater, stress is one of the causes.
Salt in the water may help, alternatively you can try salt baths instead. I would use aquarium salt.
No, there’s no other fish. I did get a new heater pretty recently. I guess I’m going to have to get another one then? I heard aquarium salt can worsen the dropsy though.

It’s probably dropsy, if you can, I would euthanize the fish. It’s incurable and it will die in a few days- a couple months the pine coning happens in the last stages of the disease when your fish is about to die
He’s barely bloated and barely pineconing though.

It’s very difficult to cure but definitely not incurable. You may still have a chance to help him. Is he still eating? If he is then it’s not to bad yet
His color is bright and he’s still eating. I was fasting him because the food was making him worse?? I feed him topfin pellets. I was going to order fluval bug bites yesterday.



It’s really hard to take a picture of him now, but here he is:

46924F3F-C253-40C9-8F21-715F6F51D365.jpeg
D6E778C7-4E21-4CF4-BB9F-DE3B7A224D00.jpeg
You can’t really see his scales slightly sticking up.
He doesn’t have any tank mates, but would a quarantine tank still be helpful? Would IAL also help? I can’t get IAL until Thursday or Friday though.
 

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Bettamay
  • #11
What is the tank size? I would say get a quarantine tank anyway. IAL might help.
Get the meds going as quick as possible. When the scales start pineconing, the fluids have already build up a lot. Don’t let it go any further. If you can get a quarantine tank today, do it today. I wouldn’t think it would have to be cycled since you would be doing daily WC. I have to say, he doesn’t look bad yet, so you might have got it in time.

P.S. - He’s really pretty.
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
What is the tank size? I would say get a quarantine tank anyway. IAL might help.
Get the meds going as quick as possible. When the scales start pineconing, the fluids have already build up a lot. Don’t let it go any further. If you can get a quarantine tank today, do it today. I wouldn’t think it would have to be cycled since you would be doing daily WC. I have to say, he doesn’t look bad yet, so you might have got it in time.

P.S. - He’s really pretty.
10 gal. I can probably get another 10 gallon for quarantine, but I’m worried an empty tank might stress him out even more. I’ll try to go to petco today to get some silk plants maybe. I’ve also heard conflicting things about meth blue. Have you used it before? And ty!
 
mattgirl
  • #13
Clean your filter( in the tank) and then do a 75 percent water change, scrub everything with hot water (rip hands) and clean live plants (if you have them) with warm water.
I can't be of any help when it comes to treating fish but I have to ask. Why would one want to do this? Wash filter in the tank???? What is the reasoning behind scrubbing everything in hot water? Doing so will be removing most of the bacteria in this tank and will crash the cycle unless you are just saying wash your hands well.
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
I think it might be easier for my to get a quarantine tank. I’ll go to petco today and get one, a new heater, some silk plants, and fluval bug bites. I wish they had IAL there.
I’m assuming a 10 gallon tank is best for a quarantine tank and I’m also guessing I should not fill it up all the way. Should I still get a heater for 10 gallon tanks? An adjustable heater maybe?

Should I treat with Epson salt or should I use Kanaplex? I’m don’t think I’ll be able to get meth blue and I’m also not too sure about using it.

Edit: It doesn't look like I can get kanaplex soon either. So should I set up a quarantine tank (should I keep using stressguard?) and treat him with Epson salt baths? He's been in pretty bad shape for a while. How/when will I know he's getting better?
 

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lucky123
  • #15
I’m sorry your in this position. I agree with everyone above. He doesn’t look bad. Daily epsom salt baths, kanaplex, lower the water level if he’s having trouble swimming. I would dose kanaplex in the tank and take him out for salt baths.
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
I’m sorry your in this position. I agree with everyone above. He doesn’t look bad. Daily epsom salt baths, kanaplex, lower the water level if he’s having trouble swimming. I would dose kanaplex in the tank and take him out for salt baths.
Will that be too much or will he be okay? The earliest I can get kanaplex is Tuesday
 
lucky123
  • #17
Will that be too much or will he be okay? The earliest I can get kanaplex is Tuesday
That treatment shouldn’t be to much but keep an eye on him. For the salt baths, use water from the tank (so it matches) and when I had to treat my betta for dropsy after the 10 minutes in the full dose of salt I let him sit in 1/3 salt for about 5-10 minutes before returning him to the tank. I would also raise the temp to 80 degrees if it’s not already at 80.
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
That treatment shouldn’t be to much but keep an eye on him. For the salt baths, use water from the tank (so it matches) and when I had to treat my betta for dropsy after the 10 minutes in the full dose of salt I let him sit in 1/3 salt for about 5-10 minutes before returning him to the tank. I would also raise the temp to 80 degrees if it’s not already at 80.
So you have to sort of “dilute” the salt water before bringing him back into the tank? Is that what you mean? I did that when I did an aquarium salt bath a while ago.
The temp is at 78-79°F. I have a preset heater, so I’ll raise it when I get a new heater. One more question, if I fill up the tank about half way, can I still use a 10 gallon heater?
 

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Oliver T.
  • #19
I've heard that boiled peas can sometimes help with relieving the digestive system and sometimes can help cure dropsy. I think that some heaters automatically adjust the temperature of the water to keep it in the parameters you set. So if you have it set for 78 degrees and the water goes to 80 it will shut itself off, but I don't know if your heater can do that, so I would probably try to find a smaller heater
 
lucky123
  • #20
So you have to sort of “dilute” the salt water before bringing him back into the tank? Is that what you mean? I did that when I did an aquarium salt bath a while ago.
The temp is at 78-79°F. I have a preset heater, so I’ll raise it when I get a new heater. One more question, if I fill up the tank about half way, can I still use a 10 gallon heater?
Yes, what I did was I had a separate container with 1/3 and I just moved him to that, but there are probably easier ways lol. If you already have a 10 gallon heater, that should be fine. I've had to use a 10 gallon heater for a 5 gallon tank before and nothing broke or over heated.
I've heard that boiled peas can sometimes help with relieving the digestive system and sometimes can help cure dropsy. I think that some heaters automatically adjust the temperature of the water to keep it in the parameters you set. So if you have it set for 78 degrees and the water goes to 80 it will shut itself off, but I don't know if your heater can do that, so I would probably try to find a smaller heater
IMO peas do help with bloating, but if you have freeze-dried or frozen daphnia, that will be better as bettas don't naturally eat veggies like goldfish (peas mostly help goldfish that are bloated). If you do feed a pea, make sure to soften it (either by microwaving it or blanching) and give a super tiny piece (about the size of their eye).
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
I’ve got a couple more questions:
Should I add rooibos tea to the quarantine tank and take him out for Epsom salt baths?
Do I need a filter in the quarantine tank or should it just have an airstone?
How often should I do water changes in the quarantine tank?

Sorry for all the questions
I want to make sure I do everything right. I really don’t want to lose Tyler



I've heard that boiled peas can sometimes help with relieving the digestive system and sometimes can help cure dropsy. I think that some heaters automatically adjust the temperature of the water to keep it in the parameters you set. So if you have it set for 78 degrees and the water goes to 80 it will shut itself off, but I don't know if your heater can do that, so I would probably try to find a smaller heater
Peas were meant to help goldfish not bettas. Peas can sometimes even make things worse and unfortunately won’t cure dropsy at all. Daphnia is what works for bettas. I have freeze dried daphnia, but it’s not really nutritious and I’m scared it’s making my betta worse as well. Idk if I can get frozen daphnia either
I’m not sure what’s going on with my heater, but I’ll have a new one soon. Thanks!
 
Oliver T.
  • #22
I’ve got a couple more questions:
Should I add rooibos tea to the quarantine tank and take him out for Epsom salt baths?
Do I need a filter in the quarantine tank or should it just have an airstone?
How often should I do water changes in the quarantine tank?

Sorry for all the questions
I want to make sure I do everything right. I really don’t want to lose Tyler




Peas were meant to help goldfish not bettas. Peas can sometimes even make things worse and unfortunately won’t cure dropsy at all. Daphnia is what works for bettas. I have freeze dried daphnia, but it’s not really nutritious and I’m scared it’s making my betta worse as well. Idk if I can get frozen daphnia either
I’m not sure what’s going on with my heater, but I’ll have a new one soon. Thanks!
Ah, I thought peas were more of a "Works on any fish" kind of deal. Thanks for correcting me. Ive never heard of using rooibos tea in an epsom salt bath before, so I cant help you there. For my med tank I just have a sponge filter which seems to do the job for me, if you could get your hands on one, even a small one that would be best. And, I've always done a partial water change about 2 times a week, about 20% each time
 

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lucky123
  • #23
I’ve got a couple more questions:
Should I add rooibos tea to the quarantine tank and take him out for Epsom salt baths?
Do I need a filter in the quarantine tank or should it just have an airstone?
How often should I do water changes in the quarantine tank?
Yes, add the rooibos tea and take him out for the epsom salt baths. If you have a sponge filter, that would be good so you wouldn't need to add an additional air stone and so the flow doesn't give him trouble swimming, but if you don't have a sponge, water changes every other day will be fine without a filter.
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Ah, I thought peas were more of a "Works on any fish" kind of deal. Thanks for correcting me. Ive never heard of using rooibos tea in an epsom salt bath before, so I cant help you there. For my med tank I just have a sponge filter which seems to do the job for me, if you could get your hands on one, even a small one that would be best. And, I've always done a partial water change about 2 times a week, about 20% each time
Np! I meant rooibos tea in the quarantine tank as well as taking him out for Epsom salt baths
The sponge filter I have is pretty big and makes really big bubbles, which is why I was thinking of using an airstone instead. Do you recommend using a sponge filter or could I use an airstone?

Yes, add the rooibos tea and take him out for the epsom salt baths. If you have a sponge filter, that would be good so you wouldn't need to add an additional air stone and so the flow doesn't give him trouble swimming, but if you don't have a sponge, water changes every other day will be fine without a filter.
Ty! The sponge filter I have makes pretty big bubbles. I also don’t think it will fit in a halfway filled up tank. I think I might stick to every other day water changes.
 
Oliver T.
  • #25
Np! I meant rooibos tea in the quarantine tank as well as taking him out for Epsom salt baths
The sponge filter I have is pretty big and makes really big bubbles, which is why I was thinking of using an airstone instead. Do you recommend using a sponge filter or could I use an airstone?


Ty! If doesn’t need to be cycled, does it matter whether I use an airstone or sponge filter? The sponge filter I have makes pretty big bubbles. I also don’t think it will fit in a halfway filled up tank.
Use the airstone for now, and if you can, try to get your hands on a sponge filter. The airstone wont clean the water, it will only provide some extra oxygen and move the water a bit. If you cant get a sponge filter then you may want to think about doing water changes more often
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Small update:
I just fed him and he still has a huge appetite and pineconing is also not visible anymore!
Unfortunately, he’s still really lethargic, seems bloated, and has trouble swimming though
 

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AvalancheDave
  • #27
I would stop with the StressGuard. It contains glutaraldehyde which is toxic to fish. It's a disinfectant that has a slim chance of working on some external infections (which wouldn't be the case with dropsy). Not worth the risk.

Fin rot + dropsy means it's a pretty good chance it's bacterial.

A vet is the best option.

Stop using any liquid carbon/liquid CO2 products. Many of them also contain glutaraldehyde (which has been known to cause dropsy).

Kanaplex is an option but it doses kanamycin 17-34 times less than what veterinary literature suggests. People don't report it working very often even though it's absorbed from the water, treats Gram negative bacteria, and there isn't widespread resistance. Those are usually where the other antibiotics marketed to aquarists strike out so it's very likely the massive under-dosing is the issue.
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
I would stop with the StressGuard. It contains glutaraldehyde which is toxic to fish. It's a disinfectant that has a slim chance of working on some external infections (which wouldn't be the case with dropsy). Not worth the risk.

Fin rot + dropsy means it's a pretty good chance it's bacterial.

A vet is the best option.

Stop using any liquid carbon/liquid CO2 products. Many of them also contain glutaraldehyde (which has been known to cause dropsy).

Kanaplex is an option but it doses kanamycin 17-34 times less than what veterinary literature suggests. People don't report it working very often even though it's absorbed from the water, treats Gram negative bacteria, and there isn't widespread resistance. Those are usually where the other antibiotics marketed to aquarists strike out so it's very likely the massive under-dosing is the issue.
Unfortunately, I cannot go to a vet. I will try to contact one though. I had no idea that stressguard can be harmful. Thanks for letting me know. I'm not using any fertilizers or CO2 products currently. I can order Kanaplex, but it will take a week to arrive. What do you recommend I do? Should I go with the Epsom salt baths?
 
AvalancheDave
  • #29
Unfortunately, I cannot go to a vet. I will try to contact one though. I had no idea that stressguard can be harmful. Thanks for letting me know. I'm not using any fertilizers or CO2 products currently. I can order Kanaplex, but it will take a week to arrive. What do you recommend I do then?

I misread and assumed you already had Kanaplex.

Since you don't already have it and have to mail order, I would get ciprofloxacin instead:

Fish Ciprofloxacin - 500 mg. strength - 30 Tablets

You would need two 500 mg tablets per 10 gal per day. It seems more expensive than Kanaplex but isn't when you correct the dosage of Kanaplex. It's also safer for fish. I would treat in a hospital tank because it will very likely affect your bio filter.

You can also add trimethoprim to meet the $49 free shipping threshold. It's better for Columnaris and we want to save ciprofloxacin for trickier bacteria like the ones that can cause dropsy.

Fish Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim - 100 tablets
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
I misread and assumed you already had Kanaplex.

Since you don't already have it and have to mail order, I would get ciprofloxacin instead:

Fish Ciprofloxacin - 500 mg. strength - 30 Tablets

You would need two 500 mg tablets per 10 gal per day. It seems more expensive than Kanaplex but isn't when you correct the dosage of Kanaplex. It's also safer for fish. I would treat in a hospital tank because it will very likely affect your bio filter.

You can also add trimethoprim to meet the $49 free shipping threshold. It's better for Columnaris and we want to save ciprofloxacin for trickier bacteria like the ones that can cause dropsy.

Fish Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim - 100 tablets
Ty! I found the medication on Chewy:
FISH AID ANTIBIOTICS Amoxicillin Capsules Fish Medication, 500-mg, 100 count - Chewy.com
I think that’s where I’m going to order from. Shipping only takes 1-3 days.
In the mean time, what should I do? Should I just stick to water changes to get the stressguard out? Should I add rooibos tea to his tank? Would that possibly help at all?
 

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AvalancheDave
  • #31
Ty! I found the medication on Chewy:
FISH AID ANTIBIOTICS Amoxicillin Capsules Fish Medication, 500-mg, 100 count - Chewy.com
I think that’s where I’m going to order from. Shipping only takes 1-3 days.
In the mean time, what should I do? Should I just stick to water changes to get the stressguard out? Should I add rooibos tea to his tank? Would that possibly help at all?

Yeah, Chewy has it too at the same price and with the same $49 free shipping threshold. They don't have trimethoprim the last time I checked.

I think stopping the StressGuard is the only other thing you can do right now.
 
jake37
  • #32
Be careful some people are talking about salt (sodium) and others epson salt. 1 to 3 (salt:water) for either sounds lethal.

So you have to sort of “dilute” the salt water before bringing him back into the tank? Is that what you mean? I did that when I did an aquarium salt bath a while ago.
The temp is at 78-79°F. I have a preset heater, so I’ll raise it when I get a new heater. One more question, if I fill up the tank about half way, can I still use a 10 gallon heater?
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #33
Yeah, Chewy has it too at the same price and with the same $49 free shipping threshold. They don't have trimethoprim the last time I checked.

I think stopping the StressGuard is the only other thing you can do right now.
I needed some other products for my pets off of chewy, which is why I’m probably going to buy from there. Would I need trimethoprim? I unfortunately can not spend too much money right now.

Be careful some people are talking about salt (sodium) and others epson salt. 1 to 3 (salt:water) for either sounds lethal.
Thanks for letting me know! I would of not started treating him before double checking ofc.
 
Bettamay
  • #34
I can't be of any help when it comes to treating fish but I have to ask. Why would one want to do this? Wash filter in the tank???? What is the reasoning behind scrubbing everything in hot water? Doing so will be removing most of the bacteria in this tank and will crash the cycle unless you are just saying wash your hands well.


Doing the hot water change removes all the “bad” bacteria. Then, cleaning the filter in the tank makes sure you don’t ruin and crash your cycle.

This is probably not the best way to do it, but it’s the way I deep clean my tank during infection. (Without crashing cycle) If somebody has a better way, definitely do that.
 

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AvalancheDave
  • #35
I needed some other products for my pets off of chewy, which is why I’m probably going to buy from there. Would I need trimethoprim? I unfortunately can not spend too much money right now.

No, you can buy trimethoprim later for use on less troublesome bacteria like Columnaris. You can ignore the expiration dates on dry medications as long as you store them in high temperatures/humidity.
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #36
Another small update on him:
His scales were pineconing yesterday, but now he looks "normal". Even the bloating seems to be a little better. His eyes, on the other hand, have a thin white circle around them, which I didn't notice before.
I just want to be sure before I order, Fish Aid Antibiotics Amoxicillin Capsules Fish Medication 500mg, is the medication I should go with, right? Which count should I get? (Chewy has a 30, 60, or 100 count)

You would need two 500 mg tablets per 10 gal per day. It seems more expensive than Kanaplex but isn't when you correct the dosage of Kanaplex. It's also safer for fish. I would treat in a hospital tank because it will very likely affect your bio filter.
The extra filter I have is the one from Aquarium co-op. If I use it in the quarantine tank, will it eventually be safe to use in my main tank? I was planning on changing my filter when I rescape.

So sorry for all the questions. I really want my betta to be okay
 
AvalancheDave
  • #37
I just want to be sure before I order, Fish Aid Antibiotics Amoxicillin Capsules Fish Medication 500mg, is the medication I should go with, right? Which count should I get? (Chewy has a 30, 60, or 100 count)

Sorry for not noticing before but you want ciprofloxacin not amoxicillin:

FISH AID ANTIBIOTICS Ciprofloxacin Tablets Fish Medication, 500-mg, 30 count - Chewy.com

500 mg, 30 count.
 
butterflybetta
  • Thread Starter
  • #38
Sorry for not noticing before but you want ciprofloxacin not amoxicillin:

FISH AID ANTIBIOTICS Ciprofloxacin Tablets Fish Medication, 500-mg, 30 count - Chewy.com

500 mg, 30 count.
Ty! I would of not noticed that! Is there a reason I should use ciprofloxacin instead of amoxicillin?
 

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AvalancheDave
  • #39
Ty! I would of not noticed that! Is there a reason I should use ciprofloxacin instead of amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is mostly for Gram positive bacteria while the vast majority of bacterial infections in fish are Gram negative.
 
Oliver T.
  • #40
If you dont mind can you get a picture of his eyes? Ive never heard of white rings forming around a fishes eyes before
 

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