Help! Fin rot or ill betta?

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corneliusmom

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Hello! I have had my betta for about 4 months, which I rescued from some pretty neglectful conditions (half gallon plastic bowl, no heater or filter, single sharp plastic plant, filthy water). I set him up in a heated an filtered 10 gal right away with 2 hides and a silk plant. The first pic was taken about 10 days after I got him. The second was taken yesterday. Since then, I have made many improvements to his tank; I've bought tons of silk plants, a betta log, switched his filter to a sponge, started him on frozen foods, and recently added live plants.

I recently became concerned, and decided to compare to some old pics. I'm pretty upset. His fins used to be so beautiful and have deteriorated since I’ve had him even though I have been trying my best for him :( I feel guilty. The water parameters are always within levels (tested yesterday: pH 8, Ammonia 0-0.25, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0-5), and he does not have any other tankmates. Any ideas what this could be? Is it fin rot?

I need to mention that I also became concerned a month ago about how fat he seemed even though I was really cutting back his food, and by the fact that his stomach seemed to bulge out more on one side (pic 3). I posted on another forum asking if it looked like a tumor or early dropsy, and someone answered saying it looked like Mycobacterium (fish TB). To be honest, I didn't give it too much thought since he wasn't acting sick in any way, was equally active and equally a glutton. He also has a slight spine curvature; I figured it might just be pushing his organs out. The commenter suggested switching him to live foods which I did. I resolved to just keep dieting him and monitoring him extra closely. His behavior has still not changed, but his stomach looks the same. In light on his fins deteriorating despite my water conditions being good, I am wondering whether he is actually suffering from something.

I am really concerned and want my fish to be well. Please give me your opinions!

IMG_7135.jpgIMG_9741.jpgimage3 (1).jpeg
 
I’m so sorry that your fish is showing signs of possible TB. That bacteria could have been on any of the things you added to your tank, likely the plants as the bacteria is in the water. I’m not saying this would cure your fish, but botanicals probably wouldn’t hurt to have in your tank for him. They may tint your water brown, but they do have antifungal and antibacterial qualities which may help him. The botanicals will also drop the PH, so add them slowly. For example one Indian almond leaf per 5 gallons. Wait a week and test the water. Perhaps get the PH down around 6 or 6.5. Mycobacterium prefer the PH at neutral or alkaline. That bacteria can lay dormant, so if you keep the water in a state that is less habitable, the more likely it won’t rear its ugly head. I hope some of this info will be helpful and useful. Good luck with your betta.
 
I’m so sorry that your fish is showing signs of possible TB. That bacteria could have been on any of the things you added to your tank, likely the plants as the bacteria is in the water. I’m not saying this would cure your fish, but botanicals probably wouldn’t hurt to have in your tank for him. They may tint your water brown, but they do have antifungal and antibacterial qualities which may help him. The botanicals will also drop the PH, so add them slowly. For example one Indian almond leaf per 5 gallons. Wait a week and test the water. Perhaps get the PH down around 6 or 6.5. Mycobacterium prefer the PH at neutral or alkaline. That bacteria can lay dormant, so if you keep the water in a state that is less habitable, the more likely it won’t rear its ugly head. I hope some of this info will be helpful and useful. Good luck with your betta.
Thanks for your help! So you do agree it’s TB? I was hoping that wasn’t the case as it seems slow progressing :/ I have another fish tank; what are the precautions I need to take to avoid contamination? I’m afraid I use the same tools (water change, testing etc) for both :(
I don’t think it could be the plants, as I have only added them very recently and this problem (at least the bulge in his stomach) were there way before. I have also tried to botanicals; I once dumped the entire container of indian almond leaves, but it did not make a dent in my pH.
I’m thinking of adding them away anyways for the antibacterial properties. I heard rooibos tea is good, but the only one I have is flavoured with cinnamon. Is this safe for bettas? Is there any other medication, like antibiotics, that you would recommend? Should I take him to a vet?
 
You can't identify Fish Tuberculosis (Fish TB) just by looking at the outside of a fish.

The fish has lost a lot of condition and is skinny around the head and upper body. This can be caused by intestinal worms, gill flukes, poor food or lack of food, or an internal problem that is preventing him from digesting food properly.

The fish is slightly fatter on the right side, which could be fat build up, an enlarged organ, lots of intestinal worms or a tumour/ cyst. It's not excessive and isn't bulging out in one specific place.

The fins are looking more chewed up than when you first got him. That can be from poor water quality, lack of good food, bacterial infection, old age or an immune system that is struggling.

---------------------

What do you feed the fish and how often do you feed him?

What does the fish's poop look like?

How often do you do water changes and how much do you change?
Do you gravel clean the substrate when you do a water change?
Do you dechlorinate the new water before adding it to the aquarium?

What sort of filter is on the aquarium?
How often and how do you clean the filter?

---------------------

There is no point taking the fish to a vet unless you have lots of spare money and you won't get a confirmed answer unless they kill the fish and cut it open.

There is no treatment for Fish TB (assuming the fish even has it) so don't waste money on trying to treat it for Fish TB.

Clean water and salt might help with the tail but at this stage deworming the fish would be a good start. Then at least you know the fish is free of worms and gill flukes. You should also look at the food. A varied diet consisting of different types of frozen foods can help fish build up condition. Things like raw or cooked prawn/ shrimp are good for fish. Frozen bloodworms and brineshrimp can also be used in conjunction with a good dry food.

Section 3 of the following link has information on deworming fish.
 
You can't identify Fish Tuberculosis (Fish TB) just by looking at the outside of a fish.

The fish has lost a lot of condition and is skinny around the head and upper body. This can be caused by intestinal worms, gill flukes, poor food or lack of food, or an internal problem that is preventing him from digesting food properly.

The fish is slightly fatter on the right side, which could be fat build up, an enlarged organ, lots of intestinal worms or a tumour/ cyst. It's not excessive and isn't bulging out in one specific place.

The fins are looking more chewed up than when you first got him. That can be from poor water quality, lack of good food, bacterial infection, old age or an immune system that is struggling.

---------------------

What do you feed the fish and how often do you feed him?

What does the fish's poop look like?

How often do you do water changes and how much do you change?
Do you gravel clean the substrate when you do a water change?
Do you dechlorinate the new water before adding it to the aquarium?

What sort of filter is on the aquarium?
How often and how do you clean the filter?

---------------------

There is no point taking the fish to a vet unless you have lots of spare money and you won't get a confirmed answer unless they kill the fish and cut it open.

There is no treatment for Fish TB (assuming the fish even has it) so don't waste money on trying to treat it for Fish TB.

Clean water and salt might help with the tail but at this stage deworming the fish would be a good start. Then at least you know the fish is free of worms and gill flukes. You should also look at the food. A varied diet consisting of different types of frozen foods can help fish build up condition. Things like raw or cooked prawn/ shrimp are good for fish. Frozen bloodworms and brineshrimp can also be used in conjunction with a good dry food.

Section 3 of the following link has information on deworming fish.
I have been cutting back his food, thinking he’s too fat because he looks chunky from the top. I was stressed by people saying that overfeeding fish is one of the worst things you can do. I think that’s the most likely culprit for him looking skinny. I’ll stop doing that now. I feed him San Francisco Bay Freshwater Multi Pack, which contains different frozen food cube mixes. Most days it’s the Freshwater Frenzy cube mix, which has bloodworms, brine shrimp, watercress, cyclops, daphnia, spirulina and some vitamins. On occasion I alternate between the pure brine shrimp or bloodworms cubes, or their omnivore cube mix (brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, plankton, krill, veggies, seaweeds and vitamins). I feed him once a day. His poop doesn’t look much different; just a small worm looking thing but not stringy.

I change 20% every week and gravel vac. I always dechlorinate. I use a sponge filter; i’ve only had it for 2 months (had HOB before) so I haven’t needed to clean/replace before.

Should I water change more often? I’ll look into buying dewormer, but again I feel like that’s most likely because I was dieting him. I’ll also get aquarium salt! I’ve also been recommended Vita Chem, would you also suggest this?
 
Last edited:
You can't identify Fish Tuberculosis (Fish TB) just by looking at the outside of a fish.

The fish has lost a lot of condition and is skinny around the head and upper body. This can be caused by intestinal worms, gill flukes, poor food or lack of food, or an internal problem that is preventing him from digesting food properly.

The fish is slightly fatter on the right side, which could be fat build up, an enlarged organ, lots of intestinal worms or a tumour/ cyst. It's not excessive and isn't bulging out in one specific place.

The fins are looking more chewed up than when you first got him. That can be from poor water quality, lack of good food, bacterial infection, old age or an immune system that is struggling.

---------------------

What do you feed the fish and how often do you feed him?

What does the fish's poop look like?

How often do you do water changes and how much do you change?
Do you gravel clean the substrate when you do a water change?
Do you dechlorinate the new water before adding it to the aquarium?

What sort of filter is on the aquarium?
How often and how do you clean the filter?

---------------------

There is no point taking the fish to a vet unless you have lots of spare money and you won't get a confirmed answer unless they kill the fish and cut it open.

There is no treatment for Fish TB (assuming the fish even has it) so don't waste money on trying to treat it for Fish TB.

Clean water and salt might help with the tail but at this stage deworming the fish would be a good start. Then at least you know the fish is free of worms and gill flukes. You should also look at the food. A varied diet consisting of different types of frozen foods can help fish build up condition. Things like raw or cooked prawn/ shrimp are good for fish. Frozen bloodworms and brineshrimp can also be used in conjunction with a good dry food.

Section 3 of the following link has information on deworming fish.
Re: my former reply about cutting back his food. I was concerned he was too fat based on this image that is widely shared
1832F7F2-E2B8-45FB-B7FB-0C3237D11FB6.jpeg
 
I'm more concerned about the side view of the fish. It shouldn't be sunken in around the head or upper back.

Try to feed him 2-3 times a day.
Do a bigger (about 50-75%) water change once or twice a week to keep the tank clean.
Clean the filter once a month. Wash it in a bucket of aquarium water.

See how he looks after a couple of weeks of more food. Post some more pics of him then too. Get some dewormer into the tank when you can. Food and dewormer first, then see about the salt.
 
I'm more concerned about the side view of the fish. It shouldn't be sunken in around the head or upper back.

Try to feed him 2-3 times a day.
Do a bigger (about 50-75%) water change once or twice a week to keep the tank clean.
Clean the filter once a month. Wash it in a bucket of aquarium water.

See how he looks after a couple of weeks of more food. Post some more pics of him then too. Get some dewormer into the tank when you can. Food and dewormer first, then see about the salt.
Will do, thanks so much for all the advice!
 
Thanks for your help! So you do agree it’s TB? I was hoping that wasn’t the case as it seems slow progressing :/ I have another fish tank; what are the precautions I need to take to avoid contamination? I’m afraid I use the same tools (water change, testing etc) for both :(
I don’t think it could be the plants, as I have only added them very recently and this problem (at least the bulge in his stomach) were there way before. I have also tried to botanicals; I once dumped the entire container of indian almond leaves, but it did not make a dent in my pH.
I’m thinking of adding them away anyways for the antibacterial properties. I heard rooibos tea is good, but the only one I have is flavoured with cinnamon. Is this safe for bettas? Is there any other medication, like antibiotics, that you would recommend? Should I take him to a vet?
I can’t say that it is positively TB, and it could be something else, like one of the things mentioned by the others. I was just trying to offer some suggestions if it was TB. I’m not even sure TB can be cured. I thought I had a guppy once with TB, but I wasn’t sure. I euthanized the guppy and it was very upsetting to me.

Typical precautions when adding plants include leaving the plants soak in a bucket or another aquarium/container for a few weeks before adding them to your aquarium. Doing so allows anything bad to run its course and go without a host fish, hopefully expiring. You can also treat the plants with alum or some of the other suggestions recommended by experienced aquatic plant keepers. If you’re able to see into the container you put the plants, you’ll have opportunity to gaze into the container and look at the sides to see if planaria are crawling around or if limpets are present, etc....a chance to remove any hitchhikers before adding them to your main aquarium.

If you’re using an active substrate, that might play a role in your high PH. I can’t really speak much to that as I’ve only ever used inert gravel substrate in my aquariums. Using some RO water with your tap water might help bring that down.

As far as cinnamon goes, I’d avoid putting that into my aquarium unless you can find information that leans otherwise, and even then, I’d research it even further because as we all know not everything you find online can be trusted (smile). I think I have heard that some people do put that rooibos in their aquarium, but again, I can’t speak to that as I’ve never done that and have no experience with that.

I received a very good microscope for Christmas and it has the capability to attach your smart phone camera to take a picture of the magnified slide, and from there you could do a picture search to find similar images online, and therefore help to identify what you’re seeing on the slide. I hope I never need to use it to determine a fish disease or illness, but at least I do have the capability now. RIght now I just use it to look closely at green water I have growing in jars, microscopic critters, rain barrel water, lake water detritus, bits of aquatic plants, and stuff like that. It has been a lot of fun actually.

Colin_T asked you a lot of questions above in this thread. If you can give him some answers I’m sure he’ll do his best to help you. Good luck with your betta. He is lucky to have a very caring owner.
 
I can’t say that it is positively TB, and it could be something else, like one of the things mentioned by the others. I was just trying to offer some suggestions if it was TB. I’m not even sure TB can be cured. I thought I had a guppy once with TB, but I wasn’t sure. I euthanized the guppy and it was very upsetting to me.

Typical precautions when adding plants include leaving the plants soak in a bucket or another aquarium/container for a few weeks before adding them to your aquarium. Doing so allows anything bad to run its course and go without a host fish, hopefully expiring. You can also treat the plants with alum or some of the other suggestions recommended by experienced aquatic plant keepers. If you’re able to see into the container you put the plants, you’ll have opportunity to gaze into the container and look at the sides to see if planaria are crawling around or if limpets are present, etc....a chance to remove any hitchhikers before adding them to your main aquarium.

If you’re using an active substrate, that might play a role in your high PH. I can’t really speak much to that as I’ve only ever used inert gravel substrate in my aquariums. Using some RO water with your tap water might help bring that down.

As far as cinnamon goes, I’d avoid putting that into my aquarium unless you can find information that leans otherwise, and even then, I’d research it even further because as we all know not everything you find online can be trusted (smile). I think I have heard that some people do put that rooibos in their aquarium, but again, I can’t speak to that as I’ve never done that and have no experience with that.

I received a very good microscope for Christmas and it has the capability to attach your smart phone camera to take a picture of the magnified slide, and from there you could do a picture search to find similar images online, and therefore help to identify what you’re seeing on the slide. I hope I never need to use it to determine a fish disease or illness, but at least I do have the capability now. RIght now I just use it to look closely at green water I have growing in jars, microscopic critters, rain barrel water, lake water detritus, bits of aquatic plants, and stuff like that. It has been a lot of fun actually.

Colin_T asked you a lot of questions above in this thread. If you can give him some answers I’m sure he’ll do his best to help you. Good luck with your betta. He is lucky to have a very caring owner.
I got the plants in a baggie, and all I could see were some tiny bladder snails (which the guy who gave them to me said he had in his tanks). I also am using inert gravel for my substrate; I think my tap pH is just very high.

Understood about the cinnamon. That microscope sounds very cool! Reminds me of a little microscope I had as a kid.

Thank you again :)
 

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