Sick Betta


New Member
Doing my best with answers here. Alpine the betta is who made me think to ask.


What is the water volume of the tank? One gallon.
How long has the tank been running? Six weeks
Does it have a filter? No
Does it have a heater? No
What is the water temperature? Within the green zone on the thermometer.
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
One male betta.

How often do you change the water? Weekly
How much of the water do you change? 98%
What do you use to treat your water? Just started adding aquarium salt this last week
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water?

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish?
What do you use to test the water?
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

I don’t have this information at this time as I’m at home and he’s at work. Aquatic store said his water was good and I have the strips as well.

How often do you feed your fish? 2-3 times a day
How much do you feed your fish? 5-7 nuggets a day
What brand of food do you feed your fish?
New life spectrum
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods?
He’s had and loves blood worms. Was fine before he started eating them one to two times a week

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Six weeks
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Two weeks ago
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Pouty and sleepy.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? erythromiacin five days. Started metroplex today (metronidazole)
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all?

Lethargic. Little beads of water on him until I added the salt to his water Friday. A little fin rot. No swim bladder. Sometimes spastic and will dive bomb his rocks. Is eating fine and was vomiting last week after his dinner. Slept in his log today for two hours (started metroplex this morning)
My fish doctors here aren’t super helpful (Denver is where I am from and why I started the metronidazole with their help on the phone ) His water is coming back fine but he’s real sleepy. Sometimes will lie in his log or between his log and the tank. Rest ever so slightly on his leaf to nap. Loves to eat. Comes out to be social but then it’s nap time.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now).
His first water change didn’t go great (ran from the net) so I just swapped half his water and then he stopped swimming around like a shark after prey, literally circling constantly during the day. I had also given him a couple blood worms at this point. He skips meals on the weekend unless I just so happen to be at the office but one day he was abnormally tired. Resting on the bottom and not at all active. The water temperature I don’t think would all of the sudden bother him. He’s not getting any more or less light exposure.
The water change and a few worms was all that’s changed.

Any help is appreciated and all feedback
Is welcome. Thank you!


Well Known
More than 10 years
What are you giving him medicine for? I did not see anything in your post that ssaid what was wrong with him. Antibacterial medicines kill good bacteria and bad. It is hard on fish, and harder on fish that don't even have a bacterial disease. but maybe I missed somthing?

A betta needs at least a five gallon tank. This is not just for extra swimming room, Small tanks are extremely difficult to maintain, And filters, heaters... made for them are poor quality. small tanks are appealing to beginners, but best left to experts, Bigger is always better and easier! 5 gallons is still small, but can be maintained.
Betas need a filter but hate current. You can use a chemical free sponge and ties it up in front of the water that flows back into the tank. Now you have low current and extra media for healthy bacteria.
Betas need a heated tank at stable temperature between 78 and 82. Get a heater with 5 watts or so per gallon of water. Get an adjustable heater, not one with a set temperature! Start the heater on the lowest setting. Because you do not want to cause temperature shock to a betta which has lived in cool water his hole life. Turn the dial on the heater up the smallest possible amount, and check the temperature in the tank with a digital thermometer every 4-6 hours or ever day. And turn the dial a tiny amount again as needed, every several hours or every day, until the temp settles at a stable temp between 78 and 82. 80 would be ideal. Make sure the temp is stable 24-7.
Never remove the fish from the tank, netting a fish is stressfull, it can cause ripped fins and scales! Use a gravel vacuum to change 25% of the water once a week while sifting through the gravel. NEVER DO A 100% WATER CHANGE!. "unless there is some sort of contamination/emergency." Add new water that is the same temperature as the tank water. Add water conditioner to the new water. Prime is the best water conditioner, it has added benefits , It takes 2 drops from any eye dropper to treat one gallon of water. it is safe to round up if you are not sure. A liitle more is better then a little less.

Feed the fish about 3-4 pellets once a day or throughout the day. New life spectrum betta pellets are the best. Many "betta foods" are full of junk that betas can not even digest, stick to the good stuff omega one is pretty good for flakes, and new life spectra for pellets. feed thawed out frozen brine shrimp, or pre-soaked dried - blood worms, brine shrimp or daphnia, at least 2 times a week. Use a sharp knife to safely get the equivalent of 3-4 betta pellets from the frozen block or pallet. Then thaw it in a small cup of the tank water. Do not feed still frozen food or still dry food.

Decorations are important, but also should not take up too much swimming room, Never block off the water surface either. Bettas need to easily get to the water surface to breath. Silk plants or live plants are good, but plastic can rip fins. Broad leafed plants are great and can be used by the betta to rest on. hollow decorations with a wide opening will be used by your beta.

Beta fish are aggressive to other betas, and to any fish that they mistake for rival betas. But in a tank of 10 gallons or more , betas can live with carefully selected species of calm fish. Just be careful to observe your fish, they are individuals, and not every betta will tolerate other fish, and not every fish will tolerate a beta.
The problem I had with betas in a community tank, was the betta not getting his fair share of food. I often spot fed him with an eye dropper, He Had more success in a tank with less active


Well Known
3 years
Your first issues you'll have to fix are A) upgrading tank size, B) Fish must have a filter C) Fish must have stable temperatures for optimal comfort.

I suggest learning about the nitrogen cycle. It is essential info.

Never, ever just throw medications at a fish. Your problems are going to persist if some husbandry isn't changed, no matter how much meds you use.

This sounds probably really blunt and harsh, I apologize, just really sleepy and keeping it short and sweet lol. I do have to say, in my personal experience 100% water changes really aren't all that terrible. If you temp match the water and had good water quality before, and pH from tap isn't drastically different, there isn't so much harm, but it is definitely not standard to do 100% water changes. That's more for like QT or small overstocked tanks. For as long as the fish is in the 1 gallon, do water changes I'd say everyday or bidaily. Around 25% I'd say. In your current situation, are you able to upgrade to a 5 gallon? I recommend a sponge filter. Very cheap, mine was only like 5 bucks. Only "pricey" part is the air pump, which is only around 15. A good quality heater adjustable heater can be a little expensive, but a betta has to have a heater, and with a good heater it'll last a long time. I use an eheim 50W in my betta tank.

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